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Mexican steel company dismisses striking workers

24 June, 2014CB&I Matamoros is carrying out mass dismissals in Mexico after 350 workers went on strike on 3 June for better working conditions. IndustriALL calls on the company to stop reprisals, reinstate the dismissed workers and respect freedom of association.

The workers’ main demand is for the company to comply with ILO Convention 87 and respect their decision to join IndustriALL Global Union affiliates Mexican Miners’ and Metalworkers’ Union (SNTMMSRM).

“We want to be members of the union that does most to guarantee and defend our rights. The miners’ union does defend workers’ rights and union dues start at 1.5 per cent of wages, less than the 4 per cent rate at the union that claims to represent us,” said the workers.

CB&I, which manufactures stainless and carbon steel pipes in a range of alloys and other metallic structures has refused to respect freedom of association and has imposed the Day Laborers and Industrial Workers’ Union of the Maquiladora Industry (Sindicato de Jornaleros y Obreros Industriales y de la Industria Maquiladora de H. Matamoros), affiliated to the CTM, whose general secretary is Juan Villafuerte Morales.  

The workers are also calling for an end to reprisals against workers who went on strike; payment of wages for days not worked while on strike; a weekly bonus equivalent to 100 per cent of wages for all workers;  and permanent contracts for all temporary workers.

We will continue our struggle and we want to stress that we will not go back to work until the company signs an agreement setting out the conditions for a return to work in all parts of the plant.

Workers have met company representatives at the Matamoros Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board, and are preparing a complaint for unfair dismissal for presentation to the Board. On 11 June, workers also made a formal request for the SNTMMSRM to be awarded representation rights for collective bargaining purposes.

The company has so far not responded to the commission’s demand for it to appoint representatives with the power to negotiate the list of workers’ demands and facilitate a return to work.

IndustriALL gives its support and solidarity to the miners’ union, calls on the labour authorities (Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board) and the state government to protect the workers and demands that the company opens negotiations in order to resolve the dispute.