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Global union support for General Motors workers in Mexico

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4 June, 2021Mexican union federation FESIIAAAN held a press conference with representatives of IndustriALL and unions in Brazil, Canada and the US, showing support for General Motors (GM) workers in Mexico, who are fighting for a new collective employment agreement that is not an employer protection contract.

Workers at the GM plant in Silao, Mexico, are waiting for a second workers' vote on whether to seek a new collective  agreement that is not controlled by the central CTM union. During the first vote, CTM, in collusion with the company, tampered with documents, destroyed ballots and intimated workers in an attempt to maintain the plant's current employer protection contract.

Mexico's labour ministry ruled that the voting process had violated the principles of safety and certainty required, declaring the procedure invalid and ordering a follow-up vote to be held within 30 days.

However, that period ended on 28 May, and CTM has still not announced a second vote.

The federation of independent unions in the automobile, automotive parts, aerospace and tyre industries (FESIIAAAN) held a press conference to raise awareness of the situation and show its solidarity.

GM workers in Mexico welcomed the international support, stating that their rights had been violated during the first vote and were still being violated now. They said that some people were offering bonds worth 5,000 Mexican pesos to get them to vote in favour of the CTM contract, and that the company was harassing them and threatening to dismiss them.

FESIIAAAN's representatives said that the process for approving the collective employment agreement had to be carried out in keeping with the country's labour reform. They called on the labour ministry to ensure that the appeal filed by the workers was resolved as soon as possible, as that was the only way to ensure that the workers’ right to freedom of association was respected:

"FESIIAAAN unions are calling for full compliance with the right of the 6,494 workers at GM’s plant in Silao to vote freely and democratically, so that they can approve or reject the collective employment agreement currently governing labour relations in their workplace."

Many union leaders spoke in support of the GM workers, who had shown courage in rejecting CTM's employer protection contract. Representatives of the Los Mineros, SME, SNTGM and STIMACHS unions in Mexico, the CNM/CUT and CSP CONLUTAS unions in Brazil, AFL-CIO and UAW in the United States and Solidarity Centre and Unifor in Canada all took part.

IndustriALL automotive director Georg Leutert said:

"The situation at GM is unacceptable, as CTM is seeking to maintain its employer protection contract even though the majority of the workers want to vote in favour of democracy and a free and independent union.

GM has strong corporate values that include respect for the fundamental rights set out by ILO, and we call on the company to ensure an individual, direct and secret ballot and to take a neutral position, without trying to influence employees before or during the voting process.

We urge the Mexican authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure that each worker is free to vote."