With notable success was held the International Conference of Solidarity with the Mexican Electricians Union (SME), called by the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). The event was held on March 11 and 12, 2010, in Mexico City and other places nearby.
The Conference was attended by delegations of trade unions from the electricity and oil sectors from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Galicia, Guatemala, France, India, Basque Country, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and other regional and international organizations from the energy sector.
Valentin Pacho, deputy general secretary of the WFTU, presented the opening speech by expressing the solidarity of the Federation with the resistance movement of the Mexican Electricians against presidential decree closing the electric company Luz y Fuerza del Centro and the dismissal of 44 thousand electricians.
The delegations present at the event, agreed a Statement of political and economic support for SME’s electricians and signed a letter addressed to Mr. Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, demanding a favorable solution for the electrical workers of the SME.
The participants also attended meetings with other local unions, including the Division of SME in Toluca, where they were greeted by electricians bases in those regions. Finally, Valentin Pacho participated in a massive assembly of SME held on March 13 at the esplanade of the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
International Statement of Solidarity with the SME
The World Federation of Trade Unions and the organizations of electricity and oil sectors, and in general, the energy sector from: ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, CYPRUS, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, GALICIA, GUATEMALA, INDIA, BASQUE COUNTRY, PORTUGAL, PUERTO RICO, URUGUAY, VENEZUELA, The International Organization Droit à l’énergie, the Latin American and Caribbean Forum of Energy Workers, the Trade Union Meeting Nuestra America, and other international agencies in the energy sector, attended the International Conference of Solidarity with the Mexican Electricians Union, the Section 65 of Cananea Mining Trade Union and Union of Nuclear Industry Workers, called by the World Federation of Trade Unions and held on March 11 and 12, 2010, in Mexico City.
1 – We were greatly shocked with the severe aggression to the employees organized in the Mexican Electricians Union, because of the military and police assault on the premises of the electricity company Luz y Fuerza del Centro, on the basis of a presidential decree providing for the extinction of the mentioned company. The consecuence was 44 thousand electricians out of their jobs. The attack of the government affects also to 22 thousand pensioners.
2 – From the date of the occupation, the workers have been without receiving their salaries preventing them from taking the necessary food to their families, which violates fundamental human rights.
3 – The Mexican government, stubbornly maintains an aggressive position by refusing to give a satisfactory solution that guarantees full respect for the social, human and labor rights, achieved by electricians over the last 95 years.
4 – As trade union leaders we believe that the government action is unconstitutional. It is like condemning an inocent person without giving him the right to defense.
5 – In every country where there is rule of law we know that to reduce or dismiss workers, business leaders must bring the case before the concerned labor authorities, following due process. In any case, unions have the right to reply and declare in defense of their interests, which generally are started by the dialogue between both parts. When the negotiations or dialogue fail, we proceed to other legal bodies.
6 – What happened with the military and policial occupation of the premises of the electricity company Luz y Fuerza del Centro and the dismissal of workers has been typical of the bitter experiences with Latin America’s most murderous dictators who have not respected the law of any kind. That is what has made the government of Mr. Felipe Calderón. Therefore, we condemn and reject the official claim to violate human, labor and trade union rights of the electricians in SME. The compensations offered and provided by the Mexican government from the Secretary of Labor of the country, are actually a blackmail and bribery so that electricians renounce to their right to employment, collective bargaining, freedom of organization and the right to retirement.
7 – In the international trade union and social movement, the combative and supportive course of the SME is well known. We understand the measure of the Mexican Federal Government as a vendetta against the SME because of its opposition to the privatization of the nationalized electricity industry implemented recently by the neoliberal governments.
8 – The experience has shown that the privatizations carried out in Latin America and the world have been catastrophic for the workers and peoples. For the same reason, the class oriented labor movement struggles against governments policy of submitting the heritage of nations.
9 – The international trade union leaders know that Mr. Calderon had promised to create more and better jobs in Mexico. However, his actions show that he is doing just the opposite.
10 – In such difficult conditions, the SME electricians maintain active resistance, mobilized with other supportive social organizations. The international trade union movement expresses to the SME electricians that they are not alone in this struggle.
The World class oriented trade unions are part of the same battle, and we join them in our countries with class solidarity.
1 – We reaffirm our class solidarity with the Mexican Electricians Union.
2 – We demand the Mexican government to give a favorable solution for all SME’s electricians reinstated in their jobs.
3 – We make the government responsible for any attack which may affect the electrical workers and the Mexican people by the Federal Preventive Police or the Army in the political strike day on 16 March.
4 – We will promote mobilizations in different countries through public actions from 16 March, in front of embassies, consulates and trade offices of Mexico in the world and in international organizations, denouncing the violation of human, Social and Labor rights of SME electricians and demanding a satisfactory solution. After that date we will carry out our actions until the final solution for the workers.
5 – We will conduct an international economic solidarity campaign to support the resistance of the SME electrician comrades.
6 – We will spread the struggle of the SME and the actions of international solidarity with the Mexican electrical workers. In this sense all the organizations attending the Forum support the complaint filed by the SME at the ILO against the Mexican government for violations of Conventions 87 and 98 of the ILO.
7 – To make more effective all these agreements we approve to promote from now on a coordination between the national and international sides of the struggle. Such coordination will be integrated with the participation of SME, DAE and WFTU.
Mexico City, 11 March 2010
WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS, WFTU
ARGENTINA-Federation of Energy Workers (CTA). BRAZIL-Central Unica de Trabajadores (CUT), General Confederation of Workers of Brazil (CGTB) Workers of the Electrical Industry in Sao Paulo STIESP (CTB), Single Federation of Oil (FUP), Central of Workers and Employees Brazil (CTB); Union of Electrical Workers STE (NCST). CYPRUS-Cyprian Labor Federation (PEO) . COLOMBIA-Unión Sindical Obrera de la Industria Petrolera (USO). ECUADOR-Federation of Electrical Workers FEDELEC; Red Electrica Link. GALICIA-Federation of Chemical and Enerxía (IGC). Droit International à l’énergie. GUATEMALA-Union of Workers of the National Institute of Electricity, STINDE. INDIA-Electrical Workers Federation of India, EEFI. BASQUE COUNTRY-National Union LAB. PORTUGAL. Metallurgy Federation. PUERTO RICO-Union of Workers of the Electric Industry and Irrigation UTIER. URUGUAY, PIT-CNT. VENEZUELA Venezuela-Electric Federation, FETRAELEC. Latin American and Caribbean Forum of Workers and Energy, ESNA, Trade Union Meeting Nuestra America.