Calling for justice in Mexico
In Mexico, the country's largest mining company, Grupo México, and the Mexican government were both found to have violated Mexican law and international standards when they attempted to crush the IMF-affiliated National Miners' and Metalworkers' Union of Mexico (SNTMMSRM).
Union secretary forcefully removed
In February 2006, Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, the democratically-elected general secretary of the Mexican miners' union was forcefully removed from his position after speaking out against the government and Grupo Mexico in response to a tragic mining accident in Pasta de Conchos that left 65 miners dead. The government appointed a new general secretary - who was not a member of the union - and seized all assets of the SNTMMSRM and Mr.Gomez.
Inquiries into theses actions revealed that the government had used falsified documents, concealed evidence, and coerced officials to issue baseless arrest warrants against the union leader. Grupo México and the government then tried to divide the union, granting overnight recognition to a pro-company union and holding ‘elections' in which workers were forced and coerced to join its ranks.
Unions protest globally
The IMF strongly objected to this abuse of workers' rights and urged the Mexican government to end its attack on the SNTMMSRM. Unions from around the world held protests at Mexican embassies and consulates denouncing the government's interference in the legal functioning of a union.
The IMF launched a complaint with the International Labour Organisation against the Mexican government citing violations of ILO convention 87. The IMF Executive Committee decided to investigate both the circumstances surrounding the accident at the mine and the interference of the government in union affairs.
Gómez was officially reinstated as general secretary on April 11, 2007, after a federal court ruled the Labour Ministry had overstepped its authority and failed to comply with established procedures. However, Gómez remains in exile due to unfounded pending charges and intense safety and security threats against him and his family.
The IMF and its affiliates continue to provide solidarity support to the Mexican union in their struggle for independence and recognition of workers' rights.
http://www.imfmetal.org/mexicoApr 28, 2009 – Per-Åke Adolfsson