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Independent unions in Mexico demand rights

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7 February, 2013In Mexico City, IndustriALL Global Union is joining with the independent trade union movement and with representatives from labour organizations from the United States, Canada and several Global Unions in a series of mass actions.

The Mexican days of action started solemnly in Mexico City on 18 February with a silent march from the Monumento da la Revolucion to the Angel de la Independencia mourning the 65 miners killed in the Pasta de Conchos criminal industrial homicide. The 65 symbolic coffins were placed at the monument and the mineworkers from all sections and locals held an overnight vigil gathering. SME, UNTTYP, Continental Tires Workers, FAT, CAW, USW, UE and IndustriALL Global Union participated in solidarity with Los Mineros.

IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Fernando Lopes addressed the gathering, conveying the message of solidarity from 50 million members of the International.

See more in the SME-produced videos attached to this article.

On 19 February the Tri-National Solidarity Alliance lead a large press conference with full participation of Mexico's democratic trade unions and international supporters, including IndustriALL. See the photo attached.

Doug Olthuis, head of the Canadian USW delegation in Mexico reported that during the International Week of Action in support of independent Mexican unions a delegation of eight trade union leaders and activists from the United Steelworkers (USW), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and the Communication Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) participated in a fact-finding and solidarity tour to learn first-hand the impacts of Canadian mining companies (Excellon Resources and Fortuna Silver) on the rights of communities and workers in the Mexican states of Durango and Oaxaca. 

The delegation met with community representatives, union leaders, and workers who had been sacked by Excellon Resources for supporting Section 309 of Los Mineros. The delegation found the first-hand accounts of workers and community members of rights violations credible and were angered and appalled by the lack of respect shown to them by these companies. The delegation was also inspired by the courage and solidarity shown by workers and communities as they continue to fight for their rights.

On 21-22 February the SME union delivered letters in meetings at the Embassies of Canada, France, Japan, Spain and the US, calling on those governments to intervene with the Mexican government on trade union rights in Mexico. See the video here.