Representatives from Goodyear unions in Germany, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and the United States have shown their support for workers fired from the Goodyear plant in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, and have agreed on joint actions to ensure they are reinstated.
Two of the 58 workers that were dismissed by Goodyear Mexico held a meeting with an international delegation of union workers in Mexico City on 28 November.
They explained that Goodyear had violated an agreement not to take retaliatory measures after it fired workers who went on strike in April. The workers had taken industrial action to demand better health and safety conditions, and protest against the employer protection contract imposed by Goodyear through the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), headed by Tereso Medina.
“Goodyear violated their commitment when they fired us on 9 July,” said Pablo, one of the dismissed workers. “We want them to explain their decision. Many people were told that they lost their jobs because of a reorganization, but they told me and other union leaders that it was because they wanted to get rid of the democratic and independent union movement that was forming at Goodyear.”
The political advisor to the dismissed workers, Francisco Retama, said that the workers still want to form a democratic and independent union at Goodyear Mexico. For this, they are looking to get exclusive rights to negotiate a union contract at the company.
“It’s not easy to bring in a genuine collective agreement in Mexico. We’re hoping that the workers will be able to file their request to get exclusive rights to negotiate a collective agreement with Goodyear in the first half of next year. The new government will take up office on 1 December, so the conditions are ripe for this legal process to be a success. Millions of workers across the country have their hopes pinned on the soon-to-be president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his government. Goodyear could be a landmark case for Mexico, and that’s why this campaign is so important.”
IndustriALL’s industry director, Tom Grinter, added:
“At IndustriALL, we have followed the union campaign and the events at the Potosi plant closely. Goodyear violated its commitment not to dismiss workers when it fired the employees who went on strike. We sent them a letter but they ignored us. All of us here need to show our support for and solidarity with the Goodyear Mexico workers, as their labour rights are clearly under attack.”
Leo Gerard, president USW, summed up the discussions:
“It’s not just an attack against the Goodyear workers in Mexico but against Goodyear workers worldwide. They have to work in dire conditions, and what Goodyear pays them is disgraceful. We stand ready to support these workers by bringing in experts who can provide training and by campaigning for better health and safety conditions and for fair wages. We call on IndustriALL to help us take this campaign worldwide.”
Finally, the workers reiterated their commitment to help the Goodyear workers and signed a banner as a symbol of their solidarity.