The 3 fundamental reasons for the labor disputes at the Dos Bocas refinery

Note published on October 15 in El Economista, Empresas [Companies] Section by María del Pilar Martínez.
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In the case of the construction of the refinery located at Dos Bocas in Paraíso Tabasco, the Union arrived first and the workers arrived later; this has caused a series of conflicts, as workers are forced to pay union dues of up to 4% in order to have access to employment, eliminating the possibility of true union freedom and solely maintaining political control.

In this regard, the founding partner of the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Firm, Óscar de la Vega, explains in an interview with El Economista the three fundamental reasons that generate the conflict at Dos Bocas:

  1. The LFT allows the existence of the union before the workers

The first reason arises from the fact that the Federal Labor Law [LFT] still includes the exclusionary clause for admission – Article 395 – which, although proposed for elimination in 2012, is still included in the law and, in reality, is a way of imposing  a condition for employment on workers, forcing them to join a union or, otherwise, not being able to work, violating the worker’s right to the freedom of choice of belonging or not belonging to a union which, in most cases, he has no knowledge of.

Union dues should be voluntary, as established by Article 110, Section VI of the Federal Labor Law in accordance with the reform of 2019. Likewise, belonging or not belonging to a union must be voluntary for the worker, in the exercise of his freedom of association.

And if, in addition to the foregoing we add “the existence of protection collective  agreements, in which the union only charges dues without providing any service to the workers, but only acts as a hiring agency, this is a true business, often a millionaire business for union leaders; this is the situation in the case of the construction of Dos Bocas, which creates a juicy business for the unions to the detriment of the workers”, explained De la Vega.

  1. Dissemination of workers’ rights by the Profedet

The Federal Labor Defense Attorney’s Office [Profedet] has not complied with giving a more ample dissemination to workers’ rights in this matter. True compliance with the spirit of the labor reform, as well as with that of Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labor Organization and with the international obligations included in Commercial Treaties such as the USMCA will not materialize while the text included in Article 395 of the Federal Labor Law subsists, given that this text is obviously contrary to freedom of association and should therefore be derogated.

  1. Labor Inspection

The supposed violations alleged by some workers of the company in charge of the construction of the Dos Bocas Refinery must be reviewed by the Labor Inspection Directorate of the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), with the same enthusiasm with which it has conducted investigations on other less relevant issues; nevertheless, it has remained mysteriously silent in this case; the construction works could even be shut down due to this type of violations.