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Federal employees to AMLO: ‘We don’t want to move to Mérida’

Environment Secretariat union claims relocation would have negative impact on workers and families

Employees of the federal Environment Secretariat (Semarnat) have sent a clear message to president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador: they don’t want to move to Mérida as part of the incoming government’s decentralization plans.

In a letter directed to both López Obrador and the president of the state workers’ union to which they belong, the employees said they categorically reject the decentralization plan because of the negative impact it would have on Semarnat workers and their families.

Moving the department would in many cases break families up because a Semarnat employee would be obliged to move to Mérida whereas his or her partner may have to move to a different state if they work for another secretariat that is slated to be moved, the union members charged.

López Obrador has also said the Tourism Secretariat will move to Chetumal, Quintana Roo, and the Economy Secretariat to Monterrey, Nuevo León.

The employees said the decision fails to take into account the fact that many workers have mortgages nor does it consider the education situations of workers’ children, meaning that their schooling could be disrupted or cut short.

“[The] measure would also have an impact on the personal dignity of our union members, who indisputably would feel like mere objects susceptible to relocation from one physical space to another . . .” said the letter, published on the website of the Federation of Unions of Workers at the Service of the State (FSTSE) and signed by two high-ranking officials.

In addition, the workers said they have not been consulted by the president-elect’s transition team about the proposed move.

“We have not been informed about the scope of this momentous decentralization project . . . we’ve only heard about it through publications in the media,” the letter said.

The employees also charged that the decision should have been subjected to a more intensive planning process.

“In our opinion, a measure as radical as [this] . . . should have been carefully planned by experts in the field.”

The Semarnat employees questioned whether a move to Mérida was even viable considering the pressure new arrivals would place on existing housing stock and educational, health and transportation infrastructure.

In closing, the letter said Semarnat employees looked forward to solving the problem in “the most convenient and fair way for everyone” and reiterated their “most categorical and complete rejection of the decentralization project.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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