The date marks the terrible Pasta de Conchos mine accident in 2006 that killed 65 miners. The refusal of the Mexican government and employer Grupo Mexico to recover the bodies of 63 miners who remain entombed is widely known to be an effort to cover up the real causes of the disaster and the inadequacy of rescue efforts.
The 65 Pasta de Conchos miners killed by “industrial homicide” symbolize the government-employer complicity in Mexico that is abusing workers’ core rights daily.
The systematic violation of workers’ rights occurs across all industrial sectors and regions of Mexico. The international trade union movement mobilizes each February to inform members and policymakers in their home countries of the need for change.
During the upcoming Days of Action trade unionists will revisit the Mexican Ambassador to their country and push for action on:
- The outstanding ILO complaint no. 2694 on Protection Contracts
- Pasta de Conchos justice
- Rejecting the recent regressive labour law reforms
Actions will also include mobilizations, awareness raising activities, and letter writing to the new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Expectations are heightened inside Mexico of positive changes that the new Peña Nieto government can bring for workers and trade unions in the country. The international call in February will echo this call.
Peña Nieto must intervene to ensure the swift and safe return of Los Mineros General Secretary Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, also a member of the IndustriALL Executive Committee, to Mexico from Canada where he is in exile due to bogus legal charges supported by the outgoing Calderón regime. Peña Nieto must also intervene to bring labour peace and justice to key strikes at Grupo Mexico mines in Somberete, Cananea, and Taxco, where the company has forced Los Mineros members to strike for over five years.
The SME trade union of electricians is still fighting for reinstatement for over 16,500 workers in Mexico City following a Supreme Court ruling in their favour.
IndustriALL members in the energy, petroleum, glass, shoe, and auto industries also need government intervention to end unjust attacks from employers who prefer to establish protection contracts with yellow unions and bypass the industrial relations system to further exploit their workforce.
It is time for the Mexican authorities to respect and act upon the recommendations of the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association, approved by the ILO’s Governing Body in June that call on the Mexican government to examine the issue of Protection Contracts.
The ILO Committee “firmly expects that a dialogue will take place with the most representative national workers’ and employers’ organizations, as well as the six organizations that are complainants in this case or that have supported it,” stated the Committee’s recommendations adding that the Committee “trusts that legislative and other measures will be taken in the near future to strengthen protection against anti-trade union practices in breach of collective bargaining principles.”
The Finnish research-focused NGO Finnwatch concentrating on corporate responsibility this month published a report in conjunction with Finnish trade unions revealing that several Finnish companies restrict their workers' right to join and form organizations freely in Mexico. In so doing the companies act against their own codes of conduct and violate human rights.
Finnish-based auto parts multinational PKC last week sacked four members of the Executive Committee of Section 307 of Los Mineros in Ciudad Acuña. The aggressive union-busting move included the dismissal of 120 workers seen to support the union, and is retaliation for their organizing.