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During his visit to Uruguay, unions call on the Mexican president to respect freedom of association

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31 January, 2013Representatives of the Uruguayan union central, PIT-CNT, IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Americas delivered a letter addressed to the Mexican president at the Mexican Embassy in Uruguay, anticipating the president’s official visit to Uruguay, and calling on him to intervene to settle labour disputes in Mexico.

The letter from PIT-CNT affiliates, IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Americas was delivered before President Enrique Peña Nieto's visit, which began on 28 January, and called on the president to secure labour peace and justice on issues affecting the trade union movement in Mexico.

The letter was delivered by Jorge Almeida, Regional Secretary for IndustriALL, Marcelo Abdala, PIT-CNT coordinator and  Briceida González and Marvin Largaespada, regional directors of UNI Americas.

The three organisations are calling for “the resolution of important strikes at the Grupo Mexico mines in Sombrerete, Cananea and Taxco, where the company has obliged members of the National Miners’ Union (SNTMMSRM) to remain on strike for more than five years and the rapid return to Mexico of the SNTMMSRM general secretary , Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who is also a member of the IndustriALL Global Union Executive Committee and currently in exile because of false and demonstrably groundless accusations”.

The letter also highlights the struggle of the Union of Electricity Workers (SME), “which is fighting for the reinstatement of more than 16,500 workers in Mexico City, in line with the Supreme Court judgement in their favour”.

The letter also explains that Mexican workers in sectors such as energy, oil, glass and the auto industry also need the government to end “unfair attacks by employers, who prefer to make protection contracts with yellow unions and avoid their responsibilities under the labour relations system in order to continue exploiting their workers”.

“The Finnish autoparts multinational PKC dismissed 122 trade union members, including the entire executive committee of Section 307 of the SNTMMSRM in Ciudad Acuña. This aggressive anti-trade union action was a reprisal against workers for joining the union” says the letter.

The Uruguayan trade unions believe there are high expectations that the new Mexican government will introduce positive changes for workers and the trade union movement and will promote fair settlements of the disputes in question. The letter concludes by calling on the government to “engage in a constructive dialogue with the trade unions and other social actors to achieve long-awaited peaceful labour relations  and social justice, put an end to arbitrary acts and start a process of genuine change that promotes trade union rights in Mexico”.

This initiative is part of the Days of Action in defence of trade union rights in Mexico, between 18 and 24 February. The event is organized by IndustriALL affiliates in that country and sister organizations throughout the world.