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Mexican activists plan an exchange platform for energy transition

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14 December, 2018Nineteen representatives of independent trade unions and social movements in Mexico related to wind power and hydroelectric industries met on 3 December and agreed to create an exchange energy platform.

Participants at the "Forum on the right to energy, energy reform and its impact on workers and communities", agreed to create an exchange energy platform, not just for the sake of defending their interests but also to move forward with the new Mexican government on trade union and social issues.

As a first step, they agreed to create a space for information exchange on such issues as energy transition and climate change. In addition, they will use the exchange to organize solidarity acts to demand the release of political prisoners and investigations into missing people.

The activists also demanded justice for those who were killed with impunity in the conflict around Parota Dam Hydroelectric Project. The project was launched in 2003 by the government of Vicente Fox in the state of Guerrero and was rejected because it would have affected the most vulnerable population (peasants and indigenous people), caused displacements and negatively impacted traditional lands and natural resources. The project generated a climate of violence and has resulted in murders on both sides of the conflict.

The meeting participants considered a need for a mechanism of preliminary, free and informative consultations to be put in place in Mexico, in order to achieve the consent of communities on these issues. They also noted that energy reform was made for the benefit of companies and not the rest of the country, and left a fragmented sector with prevailing protection contracts that benefit the employer.

"Talking about energy transition is to talk about many things. It is to talk about energy poverty, false processes of consultation and communities dispossessed of their lands. It is to talk about rights of workers in the sector and affected communities, as well as Just Transition,"

said assistant regional secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, Laura Carter, adding:

"It's also to talk about a fundamental right and a common good. It is to talk about natural resources, environment, climate change, sovereignty and geopolitics. It is to talk about the impact of the digital revolution, industrial policy and the demand of a growing world population. Progressive thinking requires energy policies to be clear on what should be changed and how."

Moreover, participants demanded respect for the right of freedom of association. They noted that of the 104 operators in the oil sector, less than 33 per cent have a collective agreement, and none have an independent union. 

The event was organized by the regional office IndustriALL for Latin America and the Caribbean with the support of UNIFOR Canada.