/** labr.global: 307.0 **/
** Topic: Mex Taiwanese Computer Plant Wins Union Recognition **
** Written 3:32 PM Apr 25, 1997 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
From: Institute for Global Communications <email@example.com>
Subject: Mex Taiwanese Computer Plant Wins Union Recognition
Brussels April 17 (ICFTU OnLine): Workers are celebrating at the Maxi-Switch manufacturer in the state of Sonora, Mexico, after the Mexican government agreed to recognise an independent trade union at the factory.
The government decision came on April 16 just two days before the the US National Administrative Office (NAO) was to hear complaints from workers that Mexico had refused to recognise an independent trade union at a maquiladora plant. The NAO is an agency created under the North American Free Trade Agreement to handle labour issues.
At the factory the 400 workers, many of them young girls in their teens, have to work a 10-hour day for US$3.50 in the poorly ventilated factory producing Nintendo Game Boys and computer keyboards for export. Local health officials report making three to four ambulance trips a day during the summer months to rescue those who have collapsed on the production line.
The workers' fight for union recognition began in summer 1995, after they filed for recognition with the local labour authorities. Immediately following this, Alicia Perez, the workers' representative, was fired after being punched and knocked to the floor by company thugs. Three other union leaders were also fired.
In January 1996, the conciliation and arbitration board denied the union recognition on the grounds that another (phantom) union had already signed a collective contract with the company. When they asked for details of this union, they were denied copies of its statues.
The complaint which was due to be reviewed by the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC) under the NAFTA agreement on April 18, was filed by the Mexican Telephone Workers Unions (STRM) the Mexican Federation of Unions of Goods and Services Workers (FESEBS) and the Communications Workers of America (AFL- CIO- CWA). Maxi-Switch also has a production line in Tucson, Arizona, across the border from the Mexican Factory, The partnership between US and Mexican unions is being credited for the Mexican government's final climbdown.
Francisco Hernandez Juarez, General Secretary of STRM described the Mexican government's action as "a major step forward for maxi-Switch workers who are determined to build their union, and for other workers throughout Mexico.
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