Independent unions drive salary increases

Note published on March 21 in Reforma, Negocios [Business] Section by Verónica Gascón.
Read original source

Independent unions that emerged as a result of the labor reform have achieved substantial salary increases for the workers that they represent, after intense negotiations with companies.

For example, the Independent Union of Automotive Industry Workers (SINTTIA) at the General Motors Silao plant was able to obtain a direct increase to salary of 10 percent and a salary equalization bonus for all workers with over 20 years of service that are not at the special level.

In addition to 15 proper retirements per year for workers that comply with the established criteria and have over 20 years of service.

According to the SINTTIA, this agreement is relevant because the increase surpasses the two-digit barrier, which had not been reached in the automotive industry for several years.

At the Panasonic plant in Tamaulipas, the SNITIS “Movimiento 20/32” [20/32 Movement] achieved a 9 percent increase in salary and 2 percent in benefits.

While in the French company, Saint Gobain, the Independent Union of the Free and Democratic Workers obtained an 11 percent increase.

The United States Ambassador in Mexico, Ken Salazar, emphasized that the USMCA has led to better wages and a greater protection of workers’ rights.

“At the General Motors, in Silao, Guanajuato, salaries will increase by the end of this month, after less than a year of negotiations with the union, which was democratically elected by the workers”, he said.

For Oscar de la Vega, a lawyer at the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Law Firm, companies and unions must strengthen their channels of direct communication with the workers or, otherwise, there will be conflicts deriving from the divorce between workers’ bases and union leaders.

“Democratic processes will also require that companies be consistent with their financial situation and the salary conditions granted to the workers.

Increases must be related to the productivity of each company”, he said.

A negotiation that is still mired down is the one at Manufacturas VU, a company under investigation under the Rapid Response Labor mechanism of the USMCA.

Despite the above, the US Ambassador recognized the work of the Mexican authorities and the unions.

“Upon completion of the nationwide transition to the new labor justice system, it is possible to improve salaries and promote legitimate labor relationships in Mexico”, he said.