February 11, 2013—This is a crosspost from IndustriALL, a global union that represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.
|Finnish-based PKC fired more than 100 union supporters at its factories in Mexico. Photo: LabourStart
Finnish autoparts supplier PKC sacked more than 100 union supporters including the entire union committee in December 2012 for campaigning for the election of an independent trade union, the National Union of Mine and Metalworkers (known as “Los Mineros”), at their plants in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.
Ten of the sacked union leaders refused to take severance pay and, along with another eader who was sacked in April 2012, are fighting for reinstatement and the right to be wepresented by a democratically elected union at the plant.
You can support these workers by sending a message to PKC in Finland at LabourStart here. The workers want to be represented by Los Mineros so as to win higher wages (most make US$55 per week), improved health and safety, and an end to arbitrary treatment and sexual harassment.
PKC has refused to negotiate with Los Mineros, instead signing a contract with another union (the CTM), which is controlled and financed by the company. Despite threats and intimidation, Los Mineros came close to winning an election in October and is now organizing for a new election.
The workers demanding reinstatement and democratic union representation are: Alejandro Ojeda Ramírez, María de la Paz Calvillo Solano, Javier Díaz Gómez, Ana Maria Méndez Pacheco, Josefina Martínez Hernández, Rodolfo Luna Martínez, Encarnación Escobedo Muñoz, Sergio Hernández García, Jesús Rogaciano Ibarra Quintero, and Gerardo Hinojosa Morales, and Juan Carlos Palomino Cansigno who was sacked in April 2012.
In January, these fired leaders held a week-long hunger strike outside the plant, ending it only when the Federal Labor Board notified the company that it would hold a hearing starting on 30 January to schedule a new election.
PKC bought the complex of plants in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, in 2011 where about 5,500 workers produce wire harnesses for the North American vehicle market. In 2009, a group of workers supported by Los Mineros began a campaign to win a union contract.
When Los Mineros approached the company to negotiate a contract in November 2011 the company refused, saying that it had signed a contract three months earlier with another union, the CTM. This was the first the workers had heard of the CTM or its contract.
The practice of companies signing sweetheart contracts with unions that they control – known as “protection contracts” is widely used in Mexico to block democratic worker organizing.
The labour rights violations at PKC are being highlighted by IndustriALL Global Union and LabourStart during the Global Days of Action on Mexico in 2013. This 18 to 24 February union members around the world are petitioning companies, visiting Mexican embassies and sending messages of solidarity to Mexican workers.
Join the campaign and sign up to the LabourStart campaign to send a message of protest to Matti Hyytiäinen, PKC President and CEO in Finland.
To find out more about the campaign on union rights in Mexico go to: www.industriall-union.org/mexico-campaign