The Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador (Worker Support Centre, CAT) has published an insightful investigative report on working conditions and labour rights in two garment factories in Mexico’s Morelos State: Hermosa Amazing Grace and Cone Denim.
On May 28, 70 workers who lost their jobs when their employer closed the Alabama Mexico garment factory five months earlier finally received severance pay, but, according to a local journalist contacted by MSN, only 40% of what they were legally owed.
Workers and supporters protesting unjust dismissals, 2018
Three years after worker rights violations were first reported by labour rights advocates to Gap and other brand buyers, their Morelos-based supplier closed the factory rather than reinstate workers fired who had been attempting to form an independent union. The last remaining workers were dismissed in December 2018.
Workers formerly employed by the clothing manufacturer, Alabama Mexico, in Yucatan, Mexico are protesting the company’s failure to provide full legal severance pay, back wages and other compensation owing after the company closed its factory in late December 2018.
On December 7, two senators from Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) submitted a bill to the Senate that, if approved, would undermine, if not nullify, the most important advances in the country’s Constitutional Reform to the labour justice system that became law only 10 months earlier.
The assassination of two brothers, Victor and Marcelino Shaunitla Peña, has shone a spotlight on Mexico’s corrupt and anti-democratic labour relations system. The brothers were participating in a work stoppage by mineworkers with the support of community members against the Canadian-owned Media Luna gold mine in Azcala, Guerrero. The murders happened just as NAFTA negotiations were resuming in Mexico City.
On September 22, eight international apparel brands released a joint letter to the Mexican government expressing their support for the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) request that Mexico make further reforms to its Federal Labour Law to ensure respect for workers’ right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively.
Signatories to the joint letter include: adidas Group, American Eagle Outfitters, New Balance, Nike, Patagonia, Puma, PVH, and The Walt Disney Company.