April 27, 2016
After five months and a settlement agreement with Lexmark, the tent village has been taken down.
The encampment was built to maintain the protest about the firing of workers who were demanding more pay in the printer cartridge factory based in Ciudad Juarez. After five months and one week, a settlement agreement was reached, and Susana Prieto Terrazas, the attorney representing some 50 workers, said that there was little resistance left in the workers as “they didn’t have any way to support their families”.
Jerry Grasso, Lemark’s spokesman, added that “all we are saying in regards to (the) settlement question is that we have reached [an] agreement with our former employees”. He also stated that 75 workers were fired last autumn after “work place disruption”, which resulted in protests in support of the workers.
There has been unrest since last summer in the border town, where workers from different plants have been asking for pay increase. The minimum wage in Mexico is 73 pesos ($4/€3) a day, Lexmark were paying 104 pesos ($6/€5) to 121 pesos ($7/€6) and the workers wanted a rise of six pesos ($0.34/€0.30) an hour.
Attempts to unionise had been repeatedly blocked in the courts, but Prieto Terrazas reported that “the workers are establishing a non-profit [organisation] instead”. This will be called Obrer@s Maquiler@s de Ciudad Juarez A.C., or ‘maquila workers of Ciudad Juarez’, with the use of @ a Mexican way of omitting gender. The non-profit organisation will “work to denounce human rights and labour violations” in more than 300 factories in the city.
To prevent discrimination of members by companies, the membership will be undisclosed. Prieto Terrazas said that “the organisation will also fight for higher wages. We believe, in accordance with our own studies that the minimum wage should be between 250 and 300 pesos a day ($14/€12) and $17/€15), so that it’s really enough to pay for basic goods and children’s schooling. It’s very important that people don’t keep living in poverty”.
Categories : World Focus