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IndustriALL-LabourStart-Amnesty International-PRODESC join forces for Mexican miners

8 November, 2012Under a joint banner of IndustriALL, LabourStart, Amnesty International, and Mexican NGO PRODESC, an online petition was launched yesterday decrying the forceful demolition of a workers’ protest camp at Excellon’s La Platosa mine, Mexico.

Join the petition here and send your appeal to the local state governor and Mexican minister of the interior, after the authorities were complicit in allowing bulldozers and 180 armed thugs to destroy and burn the protest camp on the morning of 24 October.

As reported last week on the IndustriALL website, mineworkers were protesting together with community landowners, demanding freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining for Section 309 of the National Miners’ Union (SNTMMSRM) after a long organizing struggle against a yellow union at the La Platosa mine, located in La Sierrita, Durango and owned by the Canadian mining company Excellon Resources Inc.

The protest camp had been established for the last three months at the entrance to the La Platosa mine, with protestors conducting peaceful protests beside access roads, decrying the local management’s efforts to bypass democratic systems of industrial relations with the IndustriALL-affiliated Los Mineros union, and instead operate with the corporate Gomez Sada “trade union”.

Men, women and children from a communal landowners group known as Ejido La Sierrita have been peacefully and legally demonstrating outside Excellon's La Platosa silver mine for three months. The landowners accuse Excellon of breaking commitments to their community and refusing to negotiate a resolution to the festering conflict.

IndustriALL and its global partners support SNTMMSRM Local 309 in its demands for an end to company violence and a solution to the dispute.

The Mexican government is currently processing a raft of regressive reforms to the labour legislation, selling out the last remaining legal safeguards for workers’ rights in Mexico in favour of higher flexibility for employers. Mineworkers at Excellon’s La Platosa mine continue though to push for their right to organize collectively with Section 309 of Los Mineros in face of complicity between the state authorities and the Excellon management.

On 6 November over 150 mineworkers and community landowners formed a protest caravan and marched to Durango City to publicly denounce the current inaction of the state and federal government which allows Excellon to use thugs to threaten and to retaliate against the protestors in total impunity, once again criminalising social protest in Mexico.

The protestors called on the Federal Government and on the State of Durango to offer a solution to the conflict within a framework of respect for the community landowners’ human rights and to safeguard the physical integrity of the protestors.

Excellon has been responding to the online campaign with claims that the 24 October eviction was not violent. The 6 November rally labelled these claims as “LIES”.