ITGLWF Calls for Fundamental Rights in the Mexican Garment Sector
As part of a trade union week of action on Mexico, the Global Union representing workers in the garment industry has called on the Mexican government to comply with internationally-recognized standards on the right to organize and bargain collectively.
In a letter addressed to President Felipe Calderón, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation expressed concern about the widespread use of officially-sanctioned ‘protection contracts’ in the industry.
Says ITGLWF General Secretary Patrick Itschert: “The prevalence of protection contracts negotiated without the involvement of workers represents a gross violation of the right of freedom of association.
“Workers in factories covered by protection contracts are typically denied a copy of the agreement and do not even know which union is supposedly representing them. The agreements themselves generally contain little more than the provisions of the Labour Code.
“These bogus agreements typically contain exclusion clauses which allow an employer to fire workers who have been expelled from membership of the registered union. In practice this leads to the dismissal of workers who try to form or join a union of their own choosing.
“To cap it all, there is often a conflict of interest on the tripartite conciliation and arbitration boards which administer labour law, particularly on issues such as union recognition and dismissals for exercising the right to organise.
“Anti-union discrimination is also widespread in the form of threats, intimidation and inducements to dissuade workers from forming genuine unions”.
The ITGLWF has asked the Mexican government to take measures to ensure that fundamental trade union rights are upheld and to provide the guarantees necessary for his exercise.