TORONTO and MEXICO CITY, March 13, 2023 /CNW/ – Autoworker unions in Canada and Mexico applaud the launch of a trade complaint by the Canadian government to stop labour abuses at a Mexican auto parts facility owned by global automotive supplier Fränkische.
The decision by the federal government to proceed with its first-ever complaint under the Rapid Response Labour Mechanism (RRLM) of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), follows a request submitted by both Unifor and Mexican autoworker union Sindicato Independiente Nacional De Trabajadores Y Trabajadoras De La Industria Automotriz (SINTTIA) on March 11.
“We are encouraged that the Canadian government has listened to our concerns about the egregious labour violations happening at this factory in Mexico and is moving this complaint forward,” said Lana Payne, UniforNational Presient. “The harsh treatment, intimidation, and illegal firings these Mexican workers face by exercising their basic union rights must stop.”
Unifor and SINTTIA have asked the Canadian government to investigate and remediate a resolution to the “systematic and continual denial of rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining” by Fränkische Industrial Pipes México S.A. De C.V. at its factory in Silao. Workers at the 10-year old manufacturing facility have faced repeated threats and intimidation by both the employer and incumbent union, as they seek to elect a new, independent union in the workplace.
“The workers at Fränkische have faced severe reprisals for exercising their basic rights at work for the past year,” said María Alejandra Morales Reynoso, SINTTIA’s General Secretary. “They have exhausted every channel to resolve this situation, which leaves us no choice but to pursue trade sanctions through the CUSMA.”
The RRLM is a unique dispute resolution tool designed to protect workers’ rights in trade-dependent sectors in North America. The Mechanism requires Parties to investigate allegations and remediate a settlement shortly thereafter. If no settlement is reached, a special panel may be struck to settle the dispute and can levy severe penalties, up to and including a prohibition of goods exported from the facility in question.
Since its inception, the RRLM has been invoked seven times, each by the United States for violations occurring in Mexico.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, and played a key advisory role in the negotiation of the CUSMA. SINTTIA is an independent, democratic trade union, founded in 2021, representing thousands of autoworkers including at General Motors in Silao.