Los Mieros union march in Cananea, Mexico

ICLR report & amicus brief: Mexican mine & electrical workers

On October 11, 2009, the President of Mexico issued an executive decree liquidating Compañía de Luz y Fuerza del Centro S.A. (Central Light and Power, “LyFC”) and transferring its assets to the other state-owned power and light company in Mexico, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (Federal Electricity Commission). Workers of LyFC were represented by the Mexican Electrical Workers‟ Union (Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas, the “SME” or the “Electrical Workers”), a union that is independent of the Government of Mexico (the “Government” or the “Mexican Government”). As a result of the President‟s Decree, 44,000 workers were instantly terminated from their jobs and 22,000 retirees had their retirement benefits substantially reduced.
The National Union of Miners, Metalworkers and Allied Workers of the Republic of Mexico (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos y Similares de la República Mexicana, the “Mineworkers” or “Los Mineros”) have been on strike occupying several mines, particularly the Cananea mine, for over three years due to allegedly significant health and safety issues. This mine and others where smaller strikes are occurring are currently operated by Grupo Mexico. The Government of Mexico has refused to recognize the elected leadership of the Mineworkers‟ union and in fact has moved to forcibly evict the workers from the mines.
Issues arising from both of these cases are pending before the Supreme Court of Mexico. Various labor lawyers in Mexico requested the International Commission for Labor Rights (“ICLR”) to investigate the adverse conditions facing these and other Mexican workers.

In response, in May 2010 the ICLR sent a delegation to Mexico comprised of high-profile specialists in labor, criminal and human rights law, including three practicing lawyers, a law professor, a sitting judge and two former judges. Findings made by the members of the delegation, particularly their concerns about violations by the Government of Mexico of its obligations under international law, especially ILO Convention No. 87, have been written up in the ICLR Report, Case of the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic, August 2010.

Furthermore, the findings have compelled the ICLR to prepare and submit the Amicus Curaie Brief, Case of the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic, September 2010, for the Supreme Court of Mexico.

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About ICLR

The International Commission for Labor Rights, ICLR, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is based in New York, and coordinates the pro bono work of a global network of lawyers committed to advancing workers' rights through legal research, advocacy, cross-border collaboration, and the cutting-edge use of international and domestic legal mechanisms.

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