Mexican miners protest in defence of union

THE streets of downtown Mexico City were full this Tuesday as more than 20,000 union miners staged a protest against the Government.

Staff Reporter

The workers are accusing the Mexican Government of “meddling” in union dealings by attempting to eject leader Napoleon Gomez Urritia from his seat for alleged corruption, according to the Associated Press.

Just days ago, the National Miners and Metal Workers Union closed a majority of steel and mining facilities throughout the country and the membership of 250,000 staged a two-day strike for the cause. Meanwhile, the Mexico Labor Ministry is calling Elias Morales – a rebel who was discharged from union ranks – the union’s new leader, the news service said.

The union contends that Urritia is indeed still in charge and that any statement to the contrary is false; the Government, meanwhile, insists it is not interfering with union functions. US ALF-CIO president John Sweeney, AP said, recently penned a communication to Mexican leader Vicente Fox sharing his thoughts.

“The Government’s arbitrary removal of Mr Napoleon Gomez Urritia from his elected position of general secretary of the organisation infringes on the union’s constitution, violates Mexican law and undermines the conventions of the International Labor Organization ratified by Mexico,” Sweeney said in his letter.

Fox told the media this week that the Government is not responsible for Urritia’s removal, but it is the union itself that has charged him with fraud. The fraud, AP said, is originating from a misappropriation of money after a privatisation of two copper mines in 2000, as some of the workers have yet to receive funds from the union.

Mexico City police told AP the rally was called by the National Workers Union, an umbrella organisation that is made up of many of the country’s labour organisations.