Mexico’s National Tyre Workers Rebuff Government’s Yellow Union

4 October 2010 ICEM InBrief Mexico
In an attempt to oust a legitimate trade union at tyre multinational Continental, the Mexican government of Felipe Calderón again sided with a corporate employer to support a company-supported union that does not have workers’ support. Workers at the Llantera Potosinafactory of Continental, in San Luis Potosí, Central Mexico, are members of the National Union of Tyre Workers of Mexico (SNTGTM).

The ICEM is proud that SNTGTM has applied for ICEM affiliation and a positive recommendation will likely come at the Presidium meeting in Istanbul, 26 October.

The SNTGTM refused to accept the yellow union, forcing an arbitration meeting with the Labour Ministry in August. The Labour authority, in an attempt to destabilise the SNTGTM effort, called the meeting with only one day’s notice. Employees of the Continental plant voted at the meeting 640 to 1 in favour of the SNTGTM.

We salute this victory of democratic trade unionism in Mexico, against a fierce anti-union effort by federal and state governments.

Collective agreements with yellow unions, known as Protection Contracts, are prevalent in San Luis Potosí and throughout Mexico.

This victory enabled the San Luis Potosí plant workers to use their legitimate bargaining power with management to bring back 200 workers who were made redundant due to the global recession. As production at the plant has seen significant growth in recent months, local Continental managers sought to make workers fulfil six days’ work in five days, and to fill new posts with outsourced contract workers.

The SNTGTM resisted these efforts, forcing management to follow stipulations in the collective agreement. Job positions were offered to those ex-employees who held them previously. Many of the returning workers were, and still are, SNTGTM members. The financial crisis was used by management as an opportunity to sack trade union activists.

The struggle to reinstate those workers has seen 135 returned to their jobs last month, and a further 87 will return early next year. The San Luis Potosí local of SNTGTM, led by General Secretary José Alberto Espinosa Rocha, has received solidarity and support from a number of national unions across several sectors.

International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions


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