Napoleon Gomez at the IndustriALL head office in Geneva, Switzerland on 8 June.

Mexican union leader calls for immediate government action

09.06.2016

Mexican trade union leader, Napoleon Gomez, is calling for the Mexican government to take immediate action to stop the grave violations of trade union rights in the country.

Gomez, who is president of IndustriALL affiliate, Los Mineros, has been in Geneva, Switzerland to attend the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference taking place from 30 May to 10 June. The government of Mexico was requested to appear before the conference’s Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) to answer allegations of serious violations of ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association.

The Mexican government brought a delegation of 70 representatives from government, business and trade unions to the conference to boast about recent constitutional and labour reforms proposed to the Senate. However, only one single trade union representative in the delegation was from a democratic union. 

Napoleon Gomez, who addressed the committee on behalf IndustriALL Global Union, denounced the protection contracts in the country, which are made between undemocratic unions and companies without workers’ consent or, often, knowledge. The protection contracts have been disastrous for Mexican workers who are locked into unfair agreements and poverty wages.  

The government of Mexico told the Committee that the April 2016 proposals for labour law reform will change the system. However, it is unclear when and if the labour reform will be passed by Congress. The proposals will also do little for workers already stuck under protection contracts. Napoleon highlighted that to resolve all the current cases before the CAS and Committee on Freedom of Association at the ILO, no labour reform is needed. The Mexican Government needs to prove that it is committed to implement freedom of association in the real world and not only in public relations statements. 

In a video statement Gomez explains that the government needs to simply enforce existing legislation to stop the violations against trade unions. Watch the statement here:

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