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Mexico - important legal victory for autoworkers

14 May, 2015The Special Board 15 of the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board (JFCA) has ruled that Arneses y Accesorios de México must reinstate and provide back pay to four workers unfairly dismissed in December 2012. They were dismissed for denouncing the CTM collective bargaining agreement made behind the backs of the workers.

The workers in Arneses y Accesorios de México, owned by the Finnish auto parts Company PKC, have been fighting since 2007 to organize and officially form Section 307 of Los Mineros, seeking to leave the CTM company union led by Tereso Medina

Under the control and complicity of the yellow CTM union, management has got away with paying poverty wages of less than 100 Mexican pesos a day (6 Euros) to over 7,000 workers, running illegally long work shifts of ten hours a day with five minutes break, abusing workers’ leave and other benefits and ignoring cases of sexual harassment that workers have denounced.

After a long trial, persistently obstructed and delayed by CTM leader Tereso Medina, the President of the Special Board 15 dismissed as unfounded and unsubstantiated the allegations of the CTM representatives saying that the four workers had been dismissed for  "dereliction of duty". The Court recognized that the workers were fired as a joint reprisal by the company and the corrupt union, to intimidate workers and discourage them from wanting to exercise their right to Freedom of Association, protected by ILO Convention 87.

IndustriALL Global Union’affiliate, the Mineros Union, led by Napoleon Gómez Urrutia, and their lawyers who took up the defense of the Arneses workers, have played a key role in this result. Above all, the resistance and struggle of more than 7,000 workers at Arneses made this triumph possible –hopefully leading soon to effectively reinstate the dismissed workers and to hold a free union election..

Mineros have been calling for the union election (recuento)  to be held, to give the workers the right to determine which union the workers of Arneses y Accesorios de México want to join. This would give control of the collective bargaining agreement to the Mineros, on behalf of the 7,000 workers in Ciudad Acuña who have affiliated to their Section 307.

Crucial to obtaining this result has been the active solidarity of IndustriALL affiliates, such as the United Steelworkers in Canada and the U.S, the United Automobile Workers (UAW) in the U.S, as well as the Finnish Metalworkers.

IndustriALL joins Los Mineros in celebrating this legal victory for Alejandro Ojeda Ramírez, Javier Díaz Gómez, Ana María Méndez Pacheco and María de la Paz Solano Calvillo.

IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina says:

We applaud this landmark legal victory for Los Mineros at PKC in Mexico and for all the workers in Arneses who continue to fight back and resist despite constant pressure and intimidation by the company and CTM union. We will not let PKC off the hook now, as we have this decision from the Mexican authorities.

“We will continue fighting together to demand that the workers be reinstated as soon as possible, receive the back pay from the day of dismissal and demand that the union election (recuento) be held in the Arneses plants to allow workers to choose their union.”