In December LG Electronics, an $18 billion Korean company, transferred 350 components workers at their Reynosa TV plant to an abandoned warehouse. The workers first had to suffer rats and snakes while production was set up. They are exposed to the fumes from soldering and numerous chemicals with little or no protective equipment. They earn $43-$58 US per week.
The workers went to their company-dominated CTM union and were told there was nothing to be done.
On Saturday, February 21st they met and decided to file charges at the labour board. They found the State Governor touring nearby and asked for his help. All he promised was to send a health inspector. Two days later they began refusing to work mandatory overtime. Then six workers, some from the workers' committee, were fired. Meanwhile the company started hiring workers at a local mall.
The next day, at the start of the shift, the workers arrived to find the plant surrounded by police and security guards. They went in and offered to work overtime if management would reinstate the six fired workers. Instead a supervisor fired a worker, Celina Chavez. Chavez told him: "We spend our whole lives here, sometimes working 45 hours overtime per week, and now you don't want us because you lost ten minutes of production? Yesterday you let a guy impersonating a Governor's representative spend over an hour stopping workers on the line and ordering them to work overtime, and that wasn't a loss of production?" The company is now insisting on 12-hour days plus the weekend.
Korean unions, acting in solidarity with the Reynosa workers, began sending protest letters to LGE and the Haeng Sung (parent company) headquarters.
Workers are demanding the following:
- That the six fired workers be reinstated to their jobs.
- That the company stop firing workers and stop its intimidation tactics.
- That the company either respect their collective bargaining agreement or pay their full severance as mandated by the Mexican Federal Labour Law.
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