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Stop attacks on trade unions in Mexico

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6 February, 2013Unite the Union holds a public meeting in London at 18:00 to 19:30 on 20 February 2013 on trade union rights in Mexico

Unions in the United Kingdom, including IndustriALL affiliate Unite, are holding a public meeting on trade union rights in Mexico to coincide with the global Days of Action.

Stop the attacks on trade unions in Mexico

18:00 to 19:30, 20 February 2013

Diskus Centre, Unite Central Office

128 Theobalds Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8TH

Speakers include:

  • Professor Keith Ewing, Institute of Employment Rights
  • Owen Tudor, Head of TUC International Department
  • Dr Francisco Dominguez, Head, Centre for Latin American Studies, Middlesex University

Chair: Diana Holland, Unite Assistant General Secretary

To mark the first day of the global days of action in support of Mexican workers, a TUC General Council delegation visited the Mexican embassy on 18 February to meet with political consular Miguel Garcia-Zamudio.

Participants were Sam Gurney, the TUC’s member of the ILO Governing Body, UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt (the General Council international spokesperson), CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes (also president of UNI global union’s telecommunications sector), and Unite Assistant General Secretary Tony Burke.

The delegation began by pointing out that whilst they welcomed the chance to meet with the embassy the reality was that since a similar TUC delegation had last met with officials, the situation in Mexico had worsened rather than improved;

·       Protection contracts were still prevalent

·       Long promised labour law reforms introduced last year have in fact made the situation worse for workers, failing to deal with protection contracts, increasing job insecurity by encouraging widespread outsourcing and allowing for mass dismissals of workers who do try to organise independent democratic unions

·       Napoleon Gomez, general secretary of the Los Mineros mining and metal workers union remains in exile in Canada

·       And the bodies of the victims of the Pasta Conchos mine disaster in 2006 remain unrecovered, with no sign of further investigation into why the disaster happened or any action against those responsible.

Tony pointed to the mass dismissals of workers employed by PKC, a Finnish auto-parts maker, Honda the Japanese car giant and 16,500 electricity workers in Mexico City who had tried to defend their right to belong to the SME union. And Billy highlighted the continued failure of the Mexican authorities to deal with detailed issues raised by the International Labour Organisation and to meet their obligations to enter into dialogue with all unions, not just those who for historic reasons have privileged access to state systems.

Letters from Frances O’Grady on behalf of the TUC and Len McClusky, Unite General Secretary and Leo Gerard of the US United Steel Workers on behalf of Workers Uniting were handed over, outlining our concerns in detail.

On behalf of the Mexican embassy Snr. Garcia-Zamudio welcomed the chance to engage in discussion with British unions on these issues and promised to convey our views ‘clearly and bluntly’ back to the ministries of foreign affairs and labour so that they could see the strength of feeling around the world.