An international campaign for the reinstatement of 50 Mexican rubber workers employed by German-based Continental AG, was successful after 22 months. The illegal dismissals on 18 May 2009 were made under the guise of the global financial crisis. The ICEM-affiliated National Union of General Tire/Continental Workers’ Union (SNTGTM), led by General Secretary Alberto Espinosa Rocha, launched a full mobilisation of the union for their reinstatement and to support each sacked worker who chose to fight for re-employment.
The struggle, termed to “Resist One More Day than Continental,” supported especially the reinstatement of union activists Juan Pablo Hernández Lara and Alfredo Calderón and was won one year, ten months, and ten days after the sackings, when 50 colleagues returned to work at the factory in San Luis Potosí, 430 kilometres north of Mexico City.
The members of SNTGTM, through the decision of the union’s Congress to wage the fight, supported every worker contesting dismissal, and the union paid them the minimum wage for a worker in the sector throughout the legal process. That income is low, but the faith and support from fellow members was vital.
The SNTGTM and reinstated workers gave special thanks to the ICEM, International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF), the United Steelworkers (USW), and the AFL-CIO, for their solidarity and support internationally. The SNTGTM singled out the IGBCE and European Works Council for their important assistance in forcing the struggle onto the agenda of Conti’s management meetings.
In recent months, the union has recovered hundreds of jobs and established conditions for increased factory production in Mexico. The SNTGTM is now fighting the proposed regressive labour law in Mexico, which, if enacted, would jeopardize their hard-won achievements.