Union boss and Senator Gómez. Union boss and Senator Gómez.

3 Tamaulipas steel mills close, lay off 400 after negotiations fail

Union led by Morena party senator turned down companies' offer because of reduced bonus

Three steel mills in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, will close in response to strikes, leaving 400 workers out of a job.

The companies Siderúrgica del Golfo and Sistemas Estructurales y Construcciones announced the closures of their three plants yesterday in a joint statement 18 days after the job action began.

The work stoppages were organized by the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers, which is led by ruling party Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia.

Like thousands of factory workers who went on strike in the northern border city earlier this year, the steelworkers demanded a 20% pay increase.

They also sought an annual bonus of 48,000 pesos (US $2,500) – 16,000 pesos higher than that demanded by workers who participated in earlier strikes.

The two steel companies agreed on March 1 to the 20% salary increase but said they would only pay a 32,000-peso bonus in line with that won by other workers. The mining union rejected the offer and continued the strike.

In yesterday’s statement, Siderúrgica del Golfo and Sistemas Estructurales y Construcciones said that meeting the higher bonus demand would make their operations economically unviable.

Late last month, Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca accused the mining union of intentionally seeking to destabilize the labor situation in Matamoros as part of a strategy to build the profile of the International Confederation of Workers (CIT), a new umbrella labor movement headed by Napoleón Gómez.

“We realized that [workers] were being manipulated by external sources, people who were sent from outside to destabilize Matamoros. I mention this because we detected that it just so happens that [the strike action coincides with] the creation of the International Confederation of Workers,” the governor said on February 28.

“Those who initiated these stoppages and strikes was the mining union, which is headed by Mr. Napoleón Gómez Urrutia. . .”

Source: Reforma (sp), El Universal (sp)  

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