TORONTO, July 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Workers attempting to hold a free and
democratic unionization vote today at a Mexican silver mine owned by
Canadian mining company Excellon Resources are being confronted by
heavily armed police and goons from a company-controlled union.
As workers at Excellon's La Platosa Mine in Durango, Mexico, attempted
to cast their unionization votes this morning, Excellon allowed four
trucks of state police - armed with combat rifles - onto the property,
human rights and labour observers reported.
Labour and civil society groups are watching today's vote closely, given
the history of systematic labour and human rights violations affecting
the La Platosa Mine workers and the surrounding community.
"There must be about two dozen heavily armed state police at the mine
site right now," reported Ben Davis of the United Steelworkers, one of
the observers of today's union vote.
After the state police arrived, several dozen men, who appear to be
members of a company-controlled union, began intimidating workers.
"There are now close to 100 of these guys, some carrying sticks, and we
just got a report they are blocking the road to keep the second shift
of workers from coming in to vote," Davis said this morning.
Mexican federal police, also heavily armed, arrived at the mine site
shortly before noon (Eastern time), Davis said.
The workers at Excellon's La Platosa Mine are voting to select a union
to represent them and administer a collective bargaining agreement with
Excellon subsidiary Servicios Mineros San Pedro S.A. de C.V.
Three unions are on the ballot for today's vote, including Section 309
of Mexico's National Union of Mine, Metal and Steelworkers, or Los
Mineros. The other two organizations are regarded by labour experts in
Canada and the U.S. as company-controlled unions.
Since the mineworkers affiliated to Los Mineros in 2010, they have
suffered oppression, intimidation and unfair dismissals intended to
stop the organizing process and prevent true union representation that
would defend their rights.
Section 309 of Los Mineros held a legal work stoppage at the La Platosa
Mine on July 23, 2011, to try to force the company to sign a contract.
On August 18, 2011, in the presence of Durango state government
officials, Excellon agreed to recognize the existence of the union and
to sign a contract. Despite this agreement, the company then signed a
contract with the "Adolfo Lopez Mateos" union, regarded as a company
union, without the knowledge of mine workers.
For more updates and information on the situation at the La Platosa
Mine, visit www.usw.ca.
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), email@example.com, Skype: bendavis
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, 647-522-1630, firstname.lastname@example.org.