Mexican Electrical Workers finally win recognition and settlementSep 19, 2011 03:57 PM
For over two years Mexico’s Electrical Workers Union (SME) has been fighting their government’s persecution and attempt to annihilate the union. Finally after two years of incredible struggle, and with international support from CUPE and other unions, they have recognition and an agreement with the Mexican government.
They reached a negotiated settlement after getting official recognition of their union by obtaining their “toma de nota”. Members of SME voted on the agreement and ended their six-month occupation of Zócalo, the main plaza in the heart of the historic centre of Mexico City.
The agreement includes weekly high-level negotiations to reach a solution for the employment of all 16,559 members who did not take severance when 44,000 workers were fired. It also includes unfreezing the union’s bank accounts and release of embargoed dues.
This means that the government officially recognizes the union.
“We congratulate our brothers and sisters in Mexico on this historic victory,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “This significant breakthrough highlights the importance of international solidarity and support in the face of increasing violence and repression against unions.”
Since 2009, the Felipe Calderon government has run a vicious campaign to eliminate the independent labour movement. They systematically tried to destroy the SME through privatization of the Central Light and Power Company (Luz y Fuerza del Centro) that eliminated 44,000 jobs, freezing the union’s bank accounts, and imprisoning union leaders and members. Court hearings for the 13 political prisoners are being held this week, with their full release expected.
CUPE has actively supported the SME over the past two years through direct financial contributions, letters to the Mexican government, publicity campaigns, and sponsoring an observer at the last union elections.