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No going back! SUTEIVP's six years of struggle for the reinstatement of workers at Vidriera del Potosí

29 January, 2014On 26 January, the Mexican trade union SUTIEVP, and IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, commemorated six years of struggle by 33 workers who are demanding their jobs back at Industria Vidriera del Potosí, a subsidiary of Grupo Modelo - AB InBev. The workers were dismissed by the company in 2008, in complicity with the corrupt labour authorities in order to weaken the independent trade union.

“The dismissals and the dismantling of the workers’ union, the Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de la Empresa Industria Vidriera del Potosí (STUEIVP), was a radical step by the company, but it was endorsed by the authorities and backed up with a show of public force to deprive them of their trade union  representation on 9 May 2008. It may have hindered the struggle but it did not stop it” (reference from an article published in Jornada de San Luis on 23 January 2014).

A total of 220 workers were dismissed in 2008, including the entire union executive committee. The company made the move prior to signing a new collective agreement with the corrupt leaders of a yellow protection union chosen by the company.

Throughout all these years, SUTIEVP has refused to accept the dismissal of the 220 workers because they had employment security under the terms of the collective agreement in place at the time. Today, 33 workers have managed to resist the company’s pressure to give up their demands and have every hope of successful legal action to require reinstatement.

At a symbolic act of resistance outside the company on 26 January, SUTEIVP showed that it intends to continue the fight and demanded that the competent authorities and Grupo Modelo’s management find a solution to the dispute. The union thanked all the national and international trade unions that have given their unconditional solidarity to this struggle.

“Since 2008, Industria Vidriera del Potosí has carried out a further 600 unfair dismissals. During these six years, it has dismissed colleagues who supported us and forced others to join the protection union, the CROC, which has threatened workers with immediate dismissal if they support our struggle. In addition, the dismissed workers and our wives, sons and families have been blacklisted when our only crime has been to defend our employment and human rights as enshrined in the Mexican Constitution”, says the union.

The company and the labour authorities have obstructed the legal case for the reinstatement of the 33 dismissed workers in an attempt to wear down the workers and drag out proceedings. At the commemoration event for the six years of struggle, the workers issued the following list of demands to Grupo Modelo:

  • Immediate reinstatement of the 33 workers who continue to resist;
  • Grupo Modelo-AB InBev compliance with international labour treaties, such as ILO Convention 87;
  • Ab InBev, which now has total ownership of Grupo Modelo, should accept responsibility for finding a solution to the dispute;
  • Recognition of the independent trade union, SUTEIVP;
  • An end to harassment of workers inside the factory;
  • Freedom of association;
  • No to the protection union;
  • No to mass dismissals at Vidriera del Potosí.

IndustriALL Global Union again expresses its support and solidarity for its affiliate SUTEIVP, calls on the workers in struggle to continue with their demands and calls on the labour authorities to arrange speedy arbitration and find in favour of the workers and their families.