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Workers' representative Elejarza. Workers' representative Elejarza speaks to reporters.

45 more Tamaulipas factories threaten to go on strike, this time in Reynosa

Workers in Ciudad Victoria are also looking for better pay

Workers at 45 factories in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, have threatened to take strike action if they are not given the same pay raise and annual bonus as those given to thousands of workers in Matamoros.

But rather than abruptly walking off the job to demand a 20% salary increase and 32,000-peso (US $1,700) end-of-year bonus, the workers will first seek to negotiate with their employers.

Workers’ representative Marco Antonio Elejarza said that direct negotiations – without the involvement of trade unions – could take place between the employees and companies.

He said the 8,000 Reynosa workers, many of whom are employed at electronics and auto parts factories, have “a lot of concerns” about their labor situation that they wish to take up with their employers.

Worker unrest has reached the northern border city from Matamoros, located around 90 kilometers east, where tens of thousands of employees from around 75 businesses have gone on strike over the past two weeks. The job action has been dubbed Movimiento 20/30 in reference to the pay raise and bonus sought.

Workers in Ciudad Victoria, the state capital, are also seeking salary hikes. Aptiv, an auto parts manufacturer, reached an agreement Thursday with its 5,000 workers to increase salaries 16%. Workers began negotiations demanding 30%.

Employees of Kemet, another auto parts maker, have threatened a strike to press for a 16% raise, said Dolores Zúñiga Vázquez, general secretary of the Maquiladoras Industrial Union.

Many companies have agreed to the demands but the president of the National Council of the Maquiladora Industry (Index Nacional) said last week that even though they are signing new collective agreements with workers, some of them plan to leave Matamoros and Mexico in the next six to nine months.

Luis Aguirre Lang has predicted that strike action in Matamoros will result in the loss of 15 manufacturers and around 30,000 jobs.

He and labor law academic, Enrique Larios Díaz, warned earlier this week that strike action would spread to other parts of the country.

In Matamoros, the job action has not just hurt the factories where the striking workers are employed but also other sectors of the economy.

Miguel Ángel Caballero, president of the city’s Historic Center Businesses’ Union, said that since the labor conflict began on January 12, businesses have seen a 40% reduction in sales.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Mañana (sp)

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