December 8, 2022

MEXICO CITY, April 18 (Reuters) – A Mexican union on Monday requested the U.S. authorities to analyze a Panasonic plant for alleged employee rights abuses, the most recent in a collection of disputes searching for to leverage a brand new commerce deal to enhance office situations in Mexico.

In a petition to U.S. labor officers, filed on Monday and shared with Reuters, Mexican union SNITIS mentioned a Panasonic (6752.T) automobile elements plant within the border metropolis of Reynosa violated the 2020 United States-Mexico-Canada Settlement (USMCA) by signing a union contract behind staff’ backs and firing a number of dozen workers who protested.

“It is necessary to maintain the U.S. authorities knowledgeable that employee rights are being violated,” mentioned Rosario Moreno, head of SNITIS, an unbiased union that grew out of employee dissatisfaction with conventional labor teams within the northern state of Tamaulipas.

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“They got a contract they did not even find out about,” Moreno mentioned of the Panasonic take care of rival union SIAMARM.

The U.S. authorities was reviewing the petition, a Biden administration spokesperson mentioned on Monday.

Requested in regards to the alleged abuses, Panasonic Company of North America mentioned it was dedicated to complying with Mexico’s labor legal guidelines and collective bargaining course of, and had “the strongest of curiosity” in making certain the dispute doesn’t influence workers’ freedom to collectively discount.

It additionally mentioned the dispute was between SNITIS and SIAMARM and “doesn’t instantly contain Panasonic.” Panasonic’s Reynosa plant employs practically 1,900 folks and makes automobile audio and show programs, largely for U.S. and Canada export.

Each Panasonic and the Tamaulipas labor board, the place the contract that SNITIS says was signed with out employee consent was registered, mentioned the deal was authorized.

The USMCA, which changed the 1994 NAFTA, ushered in more durable labor guidelines designed to empower Mexican staff to demand higher salaries after years of pay stagnation and assist forestall low labor prices from leeching extra U.S. jobs.

Beneath the deal, which was contingent on Mexico upholding a significant labor reform aimed toward breaking the grip of dominant unions accused of being cozy with employers, workplaces that fail to make sure employee rights could be sanctioned with tariffs and different penalties.

The USA launched the primary USMCA probes into labor violations in Mexico final 12 months, demanding higher employee protections amid union disputes at automaker Common Motors (GM.N) and Tridonex, a U.S.-owned automobile elements plant. learn extra

The Rethink Commerce program on the American Financial Liberties Undertaking, a U.S. non-profit that pushes for company accountability, co-signed the petition with SNITIS.

The dispute at Panasonic grew out of a vote final 12 months by which staff rejected their union contract.

Such votes are required by the labor reform to finish the as soon as widespread apply of unions and firms signing so-called “safety contracts” with out employee data.

Labor authorities then scheduled a vote April 21-22 for staff to decide on between two different unions vying to take over the contract – SNITIS and SIAMARM.

Nonetheless, SNITIS says Panasonic signed a contract with SIAMARM forward of the April election and started to withhold union dues from employee paychecks.

SIAMARM, a part of one in all Mexico’s greatest labor teams, the Confederation of Mexican Employees (CTM), couldn’t be reached for remark. The group’s Fb web page says it fights for the well-being of its members.

Beneath the contract, which was seen by Reuters, salaries start at 261.49 pesos ($13.10) a day – barely above Mexico’s every day minimal wage of 260.34 pesos. The very best place earns 315 pesos ($15.81) a day.

($1 = 19.9250 Mexican pesos)

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Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Modifying by Stephen Eisenhammer, Lisa Shumaker and Aurora Ellis

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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