Ever noticed that people who play nice at home sometimes play dirty when they’re away, and think no one can see?
Employers in Mexico, in league with the government, continue their attacks on independent unions unabated, imposing company unions that act like puppets of management and fail to represent workers properly.
This week, two companies which recognize and bargain with unions in Europe and elsewhere have been slammed for their activities in Mexico, where they are dismantling independent trade unions and imposing “yellow” or company based unions by using threats and intimidation to get workers to vote for them. This week’s worst stories include illegal anti-union activities by the Finnish based company PKC and an attempt to stop an independent union from organizing by automaker Honda
After a three month-long intense campaign of threats, intimidation and pressure carried out by Arneses y Acesorios de Mexico, a subsidiary of the Finnish company PKC in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico, the company run union CTM was imposed in an election last week. The figures are indicative of the threats and pressures that both the company and the PKC – CTM directed against the workers of Arneses.
And they are incriminating: 2,311 workers supported the mine and metal workers union Los Mineros, 2,509 voted in favor of the CTM, yet there were 2,546 unused ballots, many more than the winning vote. The narrow margin of only 198 votes confirms the illegalities and irregularities committed by the company and the yellow union in the ballot say los Mineros.
Los Mineros says it will contest this fraudulent vote both in Mexico and in international organisations, including involving the new global union federation IndustriALL. The union says the process violated the most elementary rules of legal and genuine democratic consultation, established in the Federal Labour Law, the Mexican Constitution and Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as by the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico.
Meanwhile at Honda, the Sindicato de Trabajadores Unidos de Honda Mexico (STUHM) is claiming the right to negotiate a collective agreement with the company on the grounds that it represents a majority of Honda workers. It is also demanding an end to the persecution of its leaders and the reinstatement of dismissed workers.
STUHM says that workers at the El Salto plant in Jalisco have denounced poor working conditions, harassment, low pay, intimidation towards union members and the lack of a genuine union to defend their rights.
Honda has supported the position of yellow union SETEAMI and continues to intimidate and harass STUHM members and supporters, often dismissing workers without justification. Ricardo Chávez Álvarez, who was employed by the company for five years and was a quality control inspector on the assembly line, was sacked for being in possession of STUHM leaflets on company premises. Chávez was a STUHM member but the company forced him to resign from the union in July 2012.
The international trade union movement has to stand up and support independent unions in Mexico.