Mexico: Auto Workers End Strike with Pay Victory

More than 2,000 auto workers ended a three-day strike at a major plant in Mexico April 19 after management agreed to increase the amount of employee profit-sharing payments, as required by law. The company also said it would not to retaliate against any worker who went on strike.

Workers at the El Salto, Jalisco, plant each will receive $1,383 in profit-sharing, a big increase from the $25 the company originally offered. In 2011, the company gave the workers a $5,500 profit-sharing payment. The workers went on strike April 16 after management announced a drastic reduction in the state-mandated annual profit-sharing bonus, even though the company’s production and sales were higher in 2012 than in 2011.

The majority of workers are members of the Union of United Mexican Honda Workers (Sindicato de Trabajadores Unidos de Honda de México, STUHM). However, management refuses to recognize STUHM, and instead works with the corporate-backed union, SETEAMI.

Last month, a worker at the plant was crushed to death by a cargo container while painting a loading ramp. Armando Arana had worked for the company for 14 years and had spoken out several times about unsafe working conditions.

The global union, IndustriALL, and the United Steelworkers (USW) were among international organizations urging the company to negotiate with workers and recognize STUHM. In a letter to plant directors, Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, wrote that “the international trade union movement and civil society are paying close attention to this situation,” and were shocked that the company planned to give the workers such a small profit-sharing payment after they increased productivity by 30 percent in 2012.