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Miners' union and companies want to improve industrial relations

28 January, 2016The Mexican miners’ union and more than 40 companies share the same objective: tackle the problems caused by the global economy for both workers and companies. This was on the agenda when they met on 21-23 January to discuss how to improve industrial relations.

Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, president of the Mexican union of miners and metalworkers (SNTMMSRM), affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, addressed the Annual Meeting for Cooperation and Co-responsibility for Labour and Management Activity in Mexico.

We need unions and companies but need to establish a fairer and more equitable attitude. Not everything can be reduced to production and profits. Business should not be based on exploitation and injustice. We want a more secure and sustainable future for all,

Gómez Urrutia said at the meeting.

Union leaders and senior management at mining, metalworking and steel companies met for the fourth consecutive year, in Vancouver, Canada.  In a spirit of cooperation, commitment and a sense of responsibility on both sides, they were able to agree on strategies to continue improving industrial relations.

They discussed the importance of workers’ rights and company interests and covered issues such as the creation of decent jobs, productivity, gender, health and safety and pay. Wages in Mexico are the lowest in the Americas.  

Gómez Urrutia said:

Our objective is to guarantee workers’ basic rights. Unions are not enemies of companies. We have shown that we can prosper by working shoulder to shoulder. The miners’ union is not an obstacle to productivity, equality and social peace.

Both parts agreed on the need to end labour disputes in the mining industry. Company representatives said they are ready to petition President Enrique Peña Nieto to allow Napoleón Gómez Urrutia to return to Mexico so he can continue to promote workers’ rights in his own country.

Fernando Lopes, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, said on the meeting:  

With initiatives like this, the miners’ union in Mexico again shows that it is a modern union, able to promote the country’s development while defending workers’ rights.

IndustriALL Global Union welcomes and supports the agreements made at the Vancouver meeting and calls on the Mexican government to take practical steps to resolve the dispute with the union and its leader.