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Honda workers meet in Mexico City

16 October, 2013On 30 September to 3 October an Automotive Industry Meeting was held jointly by IndustriALL Global Union and FES Mexico in Mexico City. After the meeting IndustriALL’s Fernando Lopes, Helmut Lense and Suzanna Miller facilitated a meeting between the high- level representatives from JAW and Honda Unions in Japan, and two representatives from the independent Honda Workers Union (STUHM) from the Jalisco plant in Mexico.

Jose Luis Solorio, the dismissed General Secretary of STUHM, explained how the independent union was first formed to demand an improvement of working conditions at the assembly plant, to negotiate increase in wages and demand improved OHS preventive measures.

“I worked for over 10 years in Honda de Mexico without ever seeing a union representative, and without any mechanism to negotiate or dialogue with management. The several CTM unions and SETEAMI union and employer protection contract only appeared once STUHM came out publicly, then management informed us that the collective agreement had been signed.”

Luis Gerardo Rodriguez Luna, one of the workers dismissed in April, explained how the company exerted permanent surveillance and pressure on the workers to resign from the independent union. In his case threatening workers with dismissal if they were found leafleting in the plant.

The representative of JAW asked very detailed questions regarding the dismissal of the whole Executive Board of STUHM, the unfortunate death of Armando Araña at the Honda plant, the work stoppage in April 2013 and subsequent dismissal of 11 workers in April, as well as regarding the problems of intimidation and harassment denounced by STUHM. An update on the legal situation and several technical aspects of the complex legal system was provided by Pati Juan Pineda from FAT, who assists STUHM.

As Helmut Lense, IndustriALL Director for the Automotive and Rubber sector highlighted: “ We warmly encourage and welcome this frank and open discussion between representatives of Honda workers from Mexico and Japan. It marks a first very important step to hopefully resolve the problems in the Honda plant in Jalisco, Mexico.”

The JAW representative said ‘‘It is greatly meaningful that Japanese union representatives listened to the voice of STUHM members, in order to meet Honda management from now on and seek for solutions’’.