Laborers at the construction site of the new Pemex refinery on the Tabasco coast were among workers in at least five states who walked off the job on Tuesday.
Some 5,000 workers employed by the construction company ICA Fluor downed tools at the Dos Bocas refinery site to protest pay and working conditions.
There was a confrontation Wednesday morning when workers attempted to enter the refinery site for their shift. They claim that one of their number was shot and killed but there has been no official report on the incident, said the newspaper Reforma, which published a video showing police firing tear gas at the workers.
Tuesday’s protest was over an extension of their working hours without additional remuneration. They also claim they have faced threats of dismissal if they don’t pay moches – cuts or kickbacks – to a union leader installed by ICA.
Reforma reported that the workers abandoned the construction site at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday after making their dissatisfaction known by yelling and throwing stones at machinery. Marines and police subsequently secured the area where the ICA laborers were working.
The refinery, currently under construction in the municipality of Paraíso, is one of the signature infrastructure projects of the federal government. The US $8 billion project, which President López Obrador says will help Mexico achieve self-sufficiency for gasoline, is slated for completion in 2023.
Gas distributors are also on strike in Mexico City, where they continue to block roads to protest the federal government’s refusal to meet their demand to raise gas prices by 1 peso per kilo. The disgruntled distributors, who caused traffic chaos in the capital during the past two days, said they would stop working indefinitely if the government doesn’t change its position.
Some of their tankers were removed by tow-trucks, an action justified by Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who said the capital can’t be held hostage by private interest groups.
In Guerrero, public health workers, police officers and state bureaucrats were among a group of people who protested in Chilpancingo on Tuesday to demand the payment of bonuses and other benefits, while Michoacán teachers took to the streets of Morelia to pressure the government to pay wages they say they are owed. Members of the CNTE teachers union also continue to block railroads in Michoacán.
Street vendors in Oaxaca city also protested on Tuesday to demand they be allowed to sell their wares in “tourist corridors” such as pedestrian streets, parks and squares. They directed their ire at the state government, holding their protest outside the Oaxaca Government Palace.
With reports from Reforma