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Napoleón Gómez awarded Arthur Svensson prize

6 May, 2014Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, the heroic head of the Mexican mineworkers union, Los Mineros, won this year’s Arthur Svensson International Prize for trade union rights. The famous leader once again presided over his union’s congress last week remotely from exile in Canada.

IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina congratulated Napoleón after having marched with Los Mineros on May Day and delivered solidarity greetings to the historic Zocalo Square in Mexico City together with Los Mineros and other independent unions.

IndustriALL Global Union congratulates Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, the leader of Los Mineros union in Mexico, for winning the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights 2014! As the jury writes, "Gómez Urrutia plays a leading role in the struggle for democratic unions, free of government and employer control in Mexico. He is the target of a vicious anti-union campaign by the government and major mining companies, in response to his loud and persistent demands for workers' rights, decent wages and safe working conditions."

Napoleón was nominated for the prize by IndustriALL following an Executive Committee decision in December 2013. Napoleón was able to take his seat at that Executive Committee meeting, his first international travel since going into exile in 2006.

The International Prize for trade union rights was established in 2010 by Industri Energi (IE), IndustriALL’s energy affiliate in Norway, with the aim to promote and strengthen trade unions and trade union rights internationally. Arthur Svensson was one of the most prominent trade union leaders in Norway (1930-2008). The prize is granted annually based on proposals from trade unions around the world. The prize is worth NOK 500,000 (approximately US$87,000).

Since 2006 and Napoleon’s strong condemnation of the Industrial Homicide at Pasta de Conchos, the mineworker leader has been persecuted by the corporate-government alliance and forced to lead the union from exile in Vancouver, Canada.

The travel ban has been imposed by the Mexican authorities as part of a savage crackdown on Los Mineros. Sham court cases brought by the Mexican authorities have put Napoleón on the Interpol red alert list since 2006. Los Mineros repeatedly beats the sham cases just to see the authorities appeal and abuse the Interpol mechanism to maintain the exile.

See further details of Napoleón’s struggle on the website of his book Collapse of Dignity.