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Lexmark workers dismissed for demanding labour rights

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29 March, 2016Workers at Lexmark's factory in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico are suffering poor working conditions with low pay and unsafe workplaces. When they tried to fight for their rights and organize an independent union, they were unfairly dismissed. IndustriALL Global Union calls on the Conciliation and Arbitration Board (JCA) to order their reinstatement.

On Tuesday 29 March, the Ciudad Juárez JCA is due to hold a hearing to decide whether unfairly dismissed Lexmark workers should be reinstated. Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL general secretary, wrote to the authorities and demanded that they show their commitment to internationally recognized labour rights, order the reinstatement of these workers and guarantee that their right to freedom of association will be respected.

Since November 2015, Foxconn, Eaton, ADC/Commscope and Lexmark have dismissed hundreds of workers for organizing protests to express their dissatisfaction with working conditions. The United States printing and software company Lexmark turned down a workers’ request for a 6 peso (US$0.35) a day pay rise. In response, workers tried to form a union and organized protests to demand their rights, a decent wage and better working conditions. As a consequence, the company dismissed 120 workers, provoking a strike, which continues to this day.

The workers say that the company has threatened, intimidated and tried to bribe workers to abandon their efforts to organize a union. They also say that the company has not paid them the 2015 Christmas bonus to which they are legally entitled and has made excessive deductions from wages because of absences from work. They also say they have been subjected to sexual harassment and exposed to toxic chemicals without appropriate protection.

IndustriALL and 32 unions responded by writing to the company's management. They expressed their indignation and concern for the situation of the Lexmark workers and demanded that the company respect workers’ rights, in accordance with the Federal Labour Law, the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation, International Labour Organization conventions and the company's own corporate Vision and Values Policy, Code of Ethics and Human Rights Policy.

“We resolutely urge you to take immediate measures to ensure workers’ right to the freedom of association and to form an independent union, improve the intolerable working conditions in the plant and pay the workers what you promised them, including the Christmas bonus,” said the letter.

Fernando Lopes, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary said: 

The living and working conditions of workers at the factory in Juárez are completely unacceptable. IndustriALL supports their legitimate demands and encourages them to remain united in their fight to ensure respect for their right to dignity and freedom of association.