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Hope for Honda Mexico workers

14 October, 2015On 15 October, Honda Mexico workers will vote for the first time to elect a trade union. Since July, the STUHM has been asking the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board (JFCA) to provide a reliable register of voters so that a clean election can take place to decide which union should have collective bargaining rights at the company.

A legal and transparent ballot at Honda Mexico represents a significant step towards freedom of association at the plant as set out in ILO Convention 87, ratified by Mexico. After being notified the vote will go ahead on 15 October, the independent Honda Workers’ Union (STUHM) is hopeful for change.

Although jurisprudence requires that ballots should take place on neutral ground in order to guarantee a free vote, the independent union was given only five days’ notice that the ballot will take place at the company’s Jalisco plant.

Latest reports, on 14 October, are that the yellow company union, SETEAMI, part of CTM, has direct access to the three shifts of workers at the plant. Workers say that protection union SETEAMI is threatening people that if they vote for STUMH the plant will close down. CTM boss Carlos Arias has sent an audio message to be read out to all the workers in the three shifts. STUHM meanwhile is not being granted access to the workers or to the plant, which they are allowed to by law.

The STUHM requested a register of observers at the election, which will be attended by representatives of major IndustriALL Global Union affiliates. They are travelling to Jalisco to observe the conditions in which the first trade union elections at Honda Mexico will be held.

The union has called on the JFCA and the Mexican government to follow up the public statements made by the Secretary for Labour and Social Welfare, Navarrete Prida, regarding her willingness to put an end to protection contracts. The union has also complained to the ILO and other national and international trade union organizations about irregularities and constant harassment by SETEAMI, whic currently holds bargaining rights at the company.

IndustriALL and its affiliates in the sector throughout the world support and extend their solidarity to STUHM and all Honda workers in Mexico in their struggle to defend their right to choose a union to represent them at the Saltillo plant in Jalisco.

Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL General Secretary, has again written to the President of the JFCA asking him to guarantee that the election will be fair and free, with a secret ballot using transparent ballot boxes at a secure location.

In his letter, Raina emphasized that: “IndustriALL and its affiliated unions will closely follow the election. It goes without saying that the integrity and reputation of the Honda Mexico Board and that of the Mexican government itself are at stake.”