17 August, 2015After countless delays and obstacles, a long-awaited union certification election at Honda Mexico looks set to go ahead.
The independent Honda workers union, STUHM, has been demanding bargaining rights for over four years. If STUHM prevails and wins the election, Honda will become one of only a handful of car assembly plants in Mexico – the world’s fourth largest car exporter – to have an independent union.
IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates worldwide in the sector, as well as independent unions in Mexico, have given their support to STUHM in their efforts for clean elections. IndustriALL affiliates, the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers’ Unions (JAW) and Federation of All Honda Workers’ Unions (AHWU), expressed their solidarity support with Honda workers in Mexico demanding that Honda de Mexico management "guarantee a just and fair election based on workers' own will” should the union election go ahead.
IndustriALL has demanded a guarantee from the federal board of conciliation and arbitration that the election will be free and fair and that basic steps will be taken to ensure the integrity of the process.
In Mexico, the majority of workers are covered by ‘protection contracts’ (sham collective agreements entered into without the knowledge or consent of workers).
STUHM’s experience is sadly all too common in Mexico. In June of this year, after four years of waiting, the federal labour board finally issued the list of registered voters – and then, in a glaring case of double standards, gave the union only a few days to make objections to the thousands of names on the list.
To STUHM’s dismay, it was found that the list was riddled with errors, including for instance the names of workers who were long dead. This fiasco prompted IndustriALL to write to the board, demanding that a reliable list be made available and that other basic safeguards be put in place in line with international standards.
In his second letter to the president of the federal board of conciliation and arbitration of Mexico, IndustriALL's general secretary, Jyrki Raina, demanded that :
- A reliable register of workers with the right to vote should exist, and the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board is called to gather the information already mentioned;
- The election procedure should be based on the register of workers with the right to vote, at the time when the Sindicato de Trabajadores Unidos de Honda Mexico (STUHM) applied for the elections;
- The voting procedure should observe strictly the following rules: reliable register, safe place (Federal Board in Jalisco), access to cell phones should be forbidden, official identification, transparent ballot boxes, screens to vote, no more than two persons per party, duly registered observers (an observer registration and control process should be established), the ballots must contain the full name of the union, including the acronym and logo, and safety of the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board, and surrounding area, should be guaranteed.
In further exchanges, IndustriALL reminded the authorities that the situation had become so serious that the Honda case had been raised on the floor of International Labour Conference in Geneva and that all eyes were now on Mexico to ensure that Honda workers get the right, without any further delay, to join the union of their own choosing.
The federal labour board will convene a hearing at the end of August to determine next steps.