31 January 2011 ICEM InBrief
The global mobilization of trade unions affiliated to four Global Union Federations, calling for trade union rights in Mexico, is now two weeks away. Affiliates of the ICEM, International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and UNI have planned coordinated actions across the world during the week that marks the five-year anniversary of the Pasta de Conchos mine disaster.
In February 2006, an explosion happened in that mine and 65 miners were killed. The tragic blast followed continued pleas by the Mexican Miners Union, Los Mineros, for improved safety conditions at the mine.
The campaign has now made available posters, hand-bills, and information backgrounders in various languages, available here:
In Geneva, a high-level delegation from the four coordinating GUFs will meet with the Mexican ambassador to the UN in the Swiss city, to communicate the demands of the global action and seek explanations on sustained efforts to bust unions by the Calderón government. An action in front of the Mexican mission in Geneva will be joined by other Global Union Federations, including the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI), Public Services International (PSI), and the International Union of Food and Agricultural Workers (IUF).
Mexico’s assault against trade unions, specifically against Los Mineros, continued last Monday, 24 January, when a US representative of the USW, Manny Armenta, was arrested by Mexican customs police on his way to assist attorneys for Los Mineros. He was accused of driving a stolen vehicle. Armenta immediately presented documentation for the car, but was still instructed to pay a fine to a corrupt officer of US$15,000. On refusing to pay, Armenta was arrested and detained, until Los Mineros posted a bond of US$7,500 for his release. Armenta’s car is still impounded and his wallet was returned to him by police minus US$700.
Steelworker President Leo Gerard stated, “It is ironic that although Mexican courts have issued 20 warrants for Germán Larrea – the owner of Grupo México – the government has never been able to arrest him. Yet they can arrest Manny because he is in Mexico helping the mineworkers defend their rights.”
In a further clear example of the Calderón government’s complicit support for union-busting efforts, three leaders of the Los Mineros Section 142 were arrested at 5.30am on 26 January. Ministerial police violently pulled the men from their homes, still in their underwear in an effort to intimidate the section, currently on strike at the El Cubo mine, in Guanajuato.
Those arrested were Juan Andrés Villa Licea, President of the Strike Committee, Martín Reina Cruces, and Jorge Ramón Monsiváis Ortega, all senior members of the union.
This ICEM release is also available on the ICEM Web-site (http://www.icem.org/en/78-ICEM-InBrief/4205-14-19-February-Mexico-Days-of-Action-Draws-Near)