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Independent union signs historic collective bargaining agreement with Saint-Gobain Mexico

16 March, 2023The Independent Union of Free and Democratic Workers of Saint-Gobain Mexico has signed an historic collective bargaining agreement with the multinational building materials manufacturer.

It is the first time since the Saint-Gobain plant in Morelos State, Mexico, was founded 24 years ago that an independent union has negotiated a collective bargaining agreement on behalf of the workers there. The workers now have every reason to celebrate: the collective bargaining process was a success and the new agreement will bring real benefits.

In an official statement, the union said:

“We were able to achieve an historic outcome in the collective bargaining process and fulfil the commitment we made to deliver tangible benefits for our workers.”

After a week of negotiations, the union signed the collective bargaining agreement on 4 March. The agreement must now be approved by workers at the Saint-Gobain plant in the city of Cuautla through a free, secret and direct ballot, in keeping with the provisions of Mexico’s 2019 labour reform.

The signed agreement includes a 9% pay rise and a 2% increase in benefits, both above 2023 inflation, and will take retroactive effect from 1 January 2023. The union says these increases will help to improve workers’ quality of life. Other key outcomes include:

- protocols for dealing with discrimination and sexual harassment
- an increase in the percentage allocated to the savings fund and the life insurance policy
- insurance coverage for minor medical costs
- an increase in the Christmas bonus, holiday bonus and length-of-service bonus
- an increase in the study grants awarded to Saint-Gobain employees' children 
- an agreement on productivity
- the reinstatement of a worker who was fired after forming the new union.

The Independent Union of Free and Democratic Workers of Saint-Gobain Mexico won the right to represent workers at the plant in a ballot held in September 2022. They beat the Glass Workers Union, which was affiliated with the Confederation of Workers and Peasants and had negotiated an employer protection agreement  with the company behind workers' backs.

Lastly, IndustriALL’s regional secretary, Marino Vani, said:

“We congratulate the Independent Union of Free and Democratic Workers of Saint-Gobain Mexico for democratically delivering a collective bargaining agreement that truly benefits its workers. Workers deserve to be represented by unions that negotiate in their interests. That is what has now happened at the plant in Morelos after 24 years.”