The global trade union movement launched six days of global action calling for trade union rights in Mexico at the Australian Workers’ Union’s National Conference today, February 15, 2011.
“The Mexican government must end its campaign of political persecution against independent and democratic unions in Mexico,” said Jyrki Raina, the General Secretary of the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF), speaking to the assembly of over 300 unionists gathered in Queensland.
Trade unions around the world affiliated to the IMF, the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), UNI Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) are taking action in support of the Mexican Miners’ Union and the other independent unions in Mexico.
Working alongside the global unions, the trade union website LabourStart has launched an e-mail campaign to support the Mexico Days of Action. Unions in Australia and around the globe are calling on members to participate.
Calling for trade union rights in Mexico, the global days of action are taking place from February 14 to 19, which coincide with the fifth anniversary of the deaths of 65 miners at the Pasta de Conchos mine disaster in Mexico on February 19, 2006.
“Instead of attempting to rescue the miners at Pasta de Conches and investigate the cause of the disaster, over the last five years the Mexican government has escalated its illegal and violent attacks on the Mexican Miners’ Union for demanding justice, improved health and safety and the recovery of the miners’ bodies,” Raina said.
Speaking in support of the global unions’ demands for trade union rights in Mexico, Paul Howes, AWU National Secretary, spoke of the essential role that trade unions have played in Australia’s history in improving health and safety in the mining industry, something workers in every country have a right to.
“For a national government to go on the attack against a union that is legitimately and responsibly defending the rights of its members to a safe workplace and to be represented by a union of their choice is deplorable,” said Howes.
In Australia, the ACTU is coordinating a rally at the nation’s Parliament House in Canberra on Friday 18 February. The rally will be addressed by ACTU President Ged Kearney and other senior Australian and international union leaders.

Media contacts
Andrew Casey, AWU, +61 (0) 417 054 194
Mark Phillips, ACTU +61 422009011 mobile +613 9664 7266 office
Anita Gardner, IMF, +41 22 308 5032.