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ILO calls on Mexico for tripartite dialogue on Protection Contracts

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9 July, 2012Recommendations put forward by the Committee on Freedom of Association and approved by the International Labour Organisations’ Governing Body in June call on the Mexican government to examine the issue of Protection Contracts.


The wisespread use of protection contracts and their volation of fundamental union rights was raised by IndustriALL, then International Metalworkers’ Federation, in a complaint no. 2694 submitted to the ILO in 2009.

Specifically, the ILO called on Mexico to investigate and report back to the Committee regarding:

 “(1) the questions relating to the trade union security clauses, “exclusion clauses”, which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and which may give rise to the kind of situations contemplated in the complaint; (2) questions relating to the minimum representativeness of trade unions in order to bargain collectively; and (3) the alleged lack of impartiality of the conciliation and arbitration boards (JCAs) and the allegedly excessive length of their proceedings.”

The Committee “firmly expects that a dialogue will take place with the most representative national workers’ and employers’ organizations, as well as the six organizations that are complainants in this case or that have supported it,” stated the Committee’s recommendations adding that the Committee “trusts that legislative and other measures will be taken in the near future to strengthen protection against anti-trade union practices in breach of collective bargaining principles.”

Similar recommendations were released in March 2011. Since that time unions have argued that instead of social dialogue, the Mexican government has intensified its crack down on independent unions and Freedom of Association. In October 2011 and February 2012, the six complaint organizations sent letters urging the government to act. The government failed to react. In response, 40 unions from 35 countries took action during 19-25 February for a week of global mobilizations demanding ILO recommendations be implemented and an end to violations of trade union rights.

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL, the newly founded global union federation that represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors, said,

“The Mexican government claims it respects fundamental labour rights, including Freedom of Association, but its failure to take any real steps towards changing the protection contract system which systematically undermines independent trade union organizing, proves otherwise.” 

See the 364th report of the Committee on Freedom of Association here (English, Spanish, French): http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_183430.pdf