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South African unions come out in support of Mexican workers

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21 February, 2013200 members of IndustriALL’s South African affiliates the NUM, Sactwu and Numsa gathered outside the Mexican embassy in Pretoria to protest the disregard of trade union and labour rights in Mexico.

Christine Olivier, Second Deputy President of Numsa and a member of IndustriALL Exco led the protest and handed over the memorandum of demands to Ambassador of Mexico, who in turn undertook to ensure that the Mexican government received it.  

“We have assembled here in solidarity with our fellow workers in Mexico that are denied their rights as workers as well as human beings to associate and organize themselves into democratic, worker controlled trade unions, free from victimization,” said Olivier. “We demand an end to all anti union activities in your country and the reinstatement of all unfairly dismissed workers for their involvement in unions.”

Protestors called upon the Mexican government to uphold internationally accepted labour standards and to resolve the outstanding ILO complaint against Mexico immediately.

Protestors also demanded justice long overdue to the families of the 65 mineworkers that died in the Pasta de Conchos disaster in 2006 and that Grupo Mexico be held responsible for their deaths.

“Now it is the time for millions of workers around the world to stand up in unison and demand the freedom of the Mexican workers,” said Skhumbuzo Phakathi, International Officer of Numsa. “As called upon by IndustriALL and as per our own culture of international solidarity, we are picketing at the Mexican Embassy in Pretoria to demand that the workers of SME be reinstated and that there be an end to union bashing in Mexico. We further call for the withdrawal of police and army from workplaces. NUMSA’s more than 305 000 members are fully behind our friends in Mexico.”

Patrick Mathabane, International Officer of the NUM spoke of the success of the action; “This shows the strength of international solidarity, we had a NUM shop floor union leader that spoke very well at the event on the importance of unity amongst workers beyond borders. This shows an understanding in our unions for the need to stand up for workers that are being exploited even if it is not in our home country”.

See here the letter sent by IndustriALL-affiliated CEPPWAWU to the Mexican president.