Thousands of miners affiliated with the National Metallurgical Mining Trade Union (FRENTE) have declared themselves against the Labor Reform because it has significantly reduced their employee profit sharing (PTU). In addition, FRENTE decried that the reform violates the Mexican Constitution and therefore the labor rights of the miners.
Recently, 17,000 union members from Durango, Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Sonora and the State of Mexico have filed for amparos, a type of injusctiton, against the Labor Reform because it has reduced their PTU by between 60 and 80 percent.
Following the reform, the government established a maximum limit on the amount of profit sharing, which now must be equivalent of three months of salary or the average PTU payment received in the last 3 years, whichever amount benefits the worker most. The changes have sparked unrest among miners, as some have lost out on significant income. Consequently, problems between companies and unions have increased. “It represents a tremendous decrease in the wallets of mining workers just because now the federal government says that the distribution of profits accounts for only three months now. This is an arbitrary act that violates labor rights,” Carlos Pavón, Secretary General, FRENTE, told El Sol de México.
For instance, Pavón explained that MX$31 million (US$1.56 million) was to be distributed at Fresnillo’s San Julián mine in Chihuahua. However, with the reform, the amount has dropped to MX$7 million (US$353,752). Meanwhile, the Fresnillo operation in Zacatecas generated MX$59 million (US$2,98 million) in profit sharing. However, only MX$47 (US$2,37) million will be distributed. FRENTE said the PTU reduction is a big blow to the workers, so more injunctions are expected to be filed soon.
“We already have seven amparos. We want to include the 17,000 members of FRENTE per section. Therefore, we will file the remaining cases next week. This cannot continue," said Pavón. The union highlighted that the labor reform goes against the Mexican Constitution because article 123 establishes that a tripartite commission, made up of the government, companies and workers, will define the percentage of PTU to be delivered. “This is what the Constitution… No law can be above what the Magna Carta says. That is why we demand that the government not change the regulation. The labor reform is arbitrary and violates our rights,” he concluded.