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Walmart says 5.5% wage deal ends strike threat but union disagrees

Workers say talks are ongoing and there may still be a walkout

Walmart de México (Walmex) announced today that it reached a wage deal with a trade union that will avoid job action planned for next week. But the union said that negotiations are ongoing and that a strike remained a possibility.

The big-box retail chain said in a statement that it reached an agreement with the Revolutionary Confederation of Laborers and Farmworkers (CROC) that offered workers an average annual pay rise of 5.5%.

In addition, Walmex said that workers will get a productivity bonus linked to the company’s sales.

However, CROC spokesman Eduardo Miranda said that Walmex and the union had not signed an agreement and that workers still plan to strike if negotiations haven’t concluded by March 20.

The 5.5% salary increase on offer is well short of the 20% raise that the union demanded last week for around 8,000 Walmart, Sam’s Club and Bodega Aurrera workers it represents.

Cashiers and other low-ranking employees at Walmart earn on average between 140 and 150 pesos (US $7 to $7.50) per day.

If it goes ahead, the March 20 strike is expected to affect 121 Walmart stores in 10 states as well as Sam’s Club and Bodega Aurrera outlets.

In a call with analysts, Walmex said Tuesday that the CROC represents only 6,500 workers who had agreed to participate in a strike, or less than 3% of its unionized workforce.

The company’s shares fell by 2.25% this morning in line with losses across the Mexican Stock Market’s benchmark index.

Walmart workers’ threatened strike follows widespread job action in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, where thousands of factory workers have won 20% pay increases and annual bonuses of 32,000 pesos (US $1,650).

Source: Notimex (sp), Reuters (en) 

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