11 April, 2013On 27 March, IndustriALL Global wrote to management at Honda Mexico's El Salto plant in Jalisco, including the head of its health and safety department, to condemn the death of Armando Arana Torres, a victim of unsafe working conditions.
IndustriALL demanded that the company undertake an immediate and thorough investigation to determine the causes of the fatal accident and provide the worker's family with financial compensation.
Jose Luis Solorio, general secretary of the Honda Mexico workers’ union, STUHM, announced the death of Armando Arana on 25 March. He died while painting a loading ramp, crushed by a cargo container. He had worked for the company for 14 years and had complained on several occasions about unsafe working conditions. The company responded by harassing him and punishing him by assigning him work away from his usual area, the pressing area. The STUHM leader explained that:
He was ordered, along with other colleagues, to paint the unloading ramps in the motorbike plant yellow. They were ordered to move some containers and work in a space measuring approximately 1 metre. The workers asked the company to put up safety signs, given that they were being asked to work in the container loading and unloading area. Management said this was not necessary and told workers they would be sacked if they didn't do the work, so the workers did not protest
“Around 2.30pm, on the orders of management, a driver reversed into the area to attach a container to his trailer. While completing the manoeuvre, the container crushed Armando Arana who was painting the ramp“. Jose Luis Solorio said that the colleague was a “victim of Honda Mexico’s carelessness and failure to take safety measures” and added that “this crime must not go unpunished”.
STUHM has called on Honda to explain why company managers harassed Armando Arana and why they refused to take the minimum safety measures that could have avoided this tragedy. But more than two weeks after the worker's death, the company continues to maintain a criminal silence.
There has been widespread media coverage of protests by trade unions and civil society organisations. The National Miners’ and Metalworkers’ Union (SNTMMSRM), the Electricity Workers’ Union (SME) and the trade union research centre, CILAS wrote to the company, condemning its attitude. They also wrote to the federal and state labour authorities, calling on “the Labour Secretary and other federal and local labour authorities to identify those responsible for this case of industrial homicide, conduct a detailed inspection of the work area, insist that Honda Mexico take measures to protect the life of workers in high risk areas and prevent further acts of negligence”. See article.
Japanese unions affiliated to IndustriALL have expressed their shock and sadness and contacted Honda's head office to request a detailed investigation of the case. IndustriALL calls on the company and the Mexican authorities to take action and supports the union's demand that this crime does not go unpunished. Finally, it calls on all affiliated unions to ask the company to carry out a fair and responsible investigation into the death of our Mexican colleague.