TORONTO, July 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Amid intimidation and irregularities, the
National Union of Mine, Metal and Steelworkers (Los Mineros) lost an
election to represent workers at Excellon's La Platosa mine in Mexico
by a one-vote margin.
An international observer team that monitored the voting has reported
that the election was "marred by a number of serious irregularities
that cast doubt on the official results."
Los Mineros attorneys have challenged the vote count and plan to file
The labour and human rights observers cited a climate of intimidation
that included pressure and threats from mine management, the presence
of some 100 men - many carrying sticks - who at one point blocked the
mine entrance to prevent workers from entering, and the presence of a
large number of heavily armed municipal, state and federal police.
"This is a very disappointing result," said United Steelworkers (USW)
Canadian National Director Ken Neumann.
"Clearly, Excellon did not get the message that it must respect the
right of its workers to a free and fair process for choosing their
bargaining representative," Neumann said.
The La Platosa workers and Los Mineros are supported by Canadian unions,
including the USW and the Canadian Labour Congress. They also are
supported by human rights organizations including Mining Watch and the
Project on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ProDESC), a Mexican
human rights group.
Thursday's voting scandal is the latest in a long series of
controversies surrounding the Mexican mining operations of
Canadian-based Excellon Resources. Excellon has faced complaints of
systematic labour and human rights violations affecting the La Platosa
Mine workers and the surrounding community.
The official vote count from Thursday's election was 45 for Los Mineros,
46 for the union led by Carlos Pavón, who is closely linked to the
Peñoles mining company, and 32 for the Adolfo López Mateos union that
currently controls the labour contract at the mine. The latter two
unions are widely regarded as company-dominated "protection unions."
There were six challenged ballots.
Other irregularities reported by the observer team include the labour
authorities' insistence on holding the election at the mine site
instead of a neutral location, posting a leaflet for one of the company
unions, and discrepancies with ballots and the list of voters.
"As far as union democracy is concerned, it looks like Mexico is
returning to its authoritarian past," said Neumann. "But this fight is
not over and we will continue to support Excellon's workers until they
win their fight for justice."
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
Benjamin Davis, USW Director of International Affairs, +1-412-562-2501 (w), +1-202-550-3729 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org, Skype: bendavis
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, 647-522-1630, email@example.com.