Urgent request for solidarity with Mexican workers at the Vaqueros
Navarra jean factory
Workers at the Vaqueros Navarra blue jean factory in
Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico who are fighting for the right to be
represented by an independent, democratic union are being harassed,
illegally dismissed, pressured to sign resignation letters, and
threatened with a factory closure. A number of the illegally fired
workers have filed complaints for unjust dismissal, but the local labour
authorities are delaying acting on their cases while the company
intimidates and dismisses more workers – over 50 in the last week.
The workers are currently represented by a corrupt
“official union” that is affiliated with the PRI state government and
was imposed on them by their employer. In July, they filed a legal
request to be represented by the independent September 19 union, which
is affiliated with Mexico’s Authentic Labour Front (FAT), but the state
labour authorities have used bureaucratic manoeuvres to delay holding a
union representation vote.
Meanwhile, management has brought in another official
union, which is being given free reign of the factory to recruit members
and intimidate workers. Now there are rumours that two additional
official unions are getting involved in the dispute in order to confuse
the workers and further delay the process.
Since the PRI controls the state government and the
local conciliation and arbitration boards, and all the official unions
involved are affiliated with the PRI, considerable pressure will be
needed to convince state authorities to respect the workers’ rights.
Please join the
in calling on the Puebla State Governor, Mario Marín Torres, to
intervene in the case to ensure that all workers fired for exercising
their right to freedom of association are immediately reinstated and
that a free and fair union representation vote (recuento) is held
without further delay.
E-mail a letter to the Governor today, with copies to
the state Secretary of Labour and the President of the Local
Conciliation and Arbitration Board in Puebla. Copy and paste the message
below, or download the text of the letter as a Microsoft Word file.
If possible, please send letters as attachments on your
organizational letterhead. Also send a copy to MSN so that we can pass
on copies of all letters to groups in Puebla.
For more information on the workers’ struggle, including
a letter from the workers to the brands buying from Grupo Navarra and a
joint letter from the brands to the Puebla state authorities, expressing
their support for a prompt and democratic union representation vote, go
Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Puebla
Casa Aguayo, 14 Ote. #1204, Barrio El Alto
Puebla, Pue. C. P. 72000 -- Mexico
Estimado Gobernador Marín Torres:
I am writing to urge your government to take immediate
steps to ensure that the workers at the Vaqueros Navarra factory in
Tehuacan, Puebla have the right to be represented by the union of their
choice without employer or government interference.
We have received disturbing reports indicating that
management at Vaqueros Navarra has unjustly dismissed more than 100
workers – 50 of whom have been dismissed in the last few days – for the
crime of exercising their fundamental human right to organize for the
purposes of bargaining collectively with their employer.
Reports also indicate that the company is harassing and
intimidating workers affiliated with the Sindicato Nacional de
Trabajadores de la Industria de la Costura, Confección, Similares y
Conexos Diecinueve de Septiembre while allowing organizers affiliated
with the Confederacion Regional Obrera Mexicana (CROM) to actively
campaign within the factory, despite the fact that it does not hold
title to the collective agreement, something which is illegal under
Mexican labour law.
Meanwhile, the Junta Local de Conciliación y Arbitraje
has accepted other petitions for title to the collective agreement
thereby clearly demonstrating its intention to prolong the conflict for
an indefinite period, to the benefit of the employer and to the
detriment of the workers.
We would therefore strongly urge you to personally
intervene in this case directly with Grupo Navarra, in order to ensure
that the company does the following:
* Immediately ceases the ongoing dismissals and harassment of workers
associated with the September 19 union;
* Immediately ceases its active promotion of the CROM within the
* Immediately ceases all management interference with the right of the
workers to freely select the union and union representatives of their
* Immediately reinstates all workers who have been unjustly dismissed.
Moreover we strongly
request that you use your authority as constitutional governor to ensure
that state labour authorities under your charge respond immediately to
the workers’ petition to be represented by the September 19 union by
holding, without further delay, a free and fair recuento by
secret ballot and in the facilities of the Junta Local de Conciliación y
Arbitraje de Tehuacan.
Our organization and
others around the world will be monitoring the situation closely to
ensure that the recuento is held without further delay and in a
free and fair and transparent manner in which the internationally
recognized right of workers to be represented by the union of their free
choice without employer or government interference is fully respected.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this
important matter. We look forward to receiving a report on the actions
the Puebla labour authorities are taking to ensure that the Vaqueros
Navarra workers’ associational rights are respected.
Jorge Ramos Lobato, Presidente de la Junta Local de
Conciliación y Arbitraje del Estado de Puebla
Jorge Nakid, Admistrative Director, Grupo Navarra.