Napoleón Gómez Urrutia Supports Strike at Grupo Mexico UnitBy Fernando Mares | Tue, 07/26/2022 - 16:00
Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, Senator for Morena and head of the National Union of Mining, Metallurgical, Iron, Steel and Similar Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMSSRM) visited miners that have been protesting for over 15 years in Taxco, Guerrero to express his support for the workers’ movement.
During his meeting with Taxco’s workers, Gómez criticized German Larrea, CEO, Grupo Mexico because of the company’s relations with its workforce, especially those affiliated with SNTMMSSRM. He considers Larrea to have a “sick obsession” with challenging the union.
Gómez accused the company of carrying out extortion, blackmail and coercion campaigns against the government to obtain political favors and either gain more concessions or expand its existing projects. He also alleged that between 2006 and 2010, the company spent at least US$1.5 billion on corrupting judges and lawyers.
Gómez expressed his concerns regarding the company’s practice of stretching out labor disputes. He also stated that the company had spent over US$4 billion to discredit the legality of strikes in Taxco, Sobrerete and Cananea. He assured that part of the billions spent included the hiring of at least 30 law firms to extend strikes and avoid complying with the demands of mining workers. Gómez did not give further detail about the information he shared, but he pointed out that the amount the company spent on paying law firms could have solved the strike issue instead.
Labor disputes have become a center-stage issue in Mexico: under Lopez Obrador’s administration, more disagreements are materializing, with 24 disputes to date, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS). Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration counted 19 disputes during the same period.
People close to President, López Obrador like Gómez and Francisco Hernández are spearheading the major labor disputes during López Obrador administration. Gómez is a controversial figure in Mexico’s mining industry. He inherited the union’s leadership from his father and was at one time ousted from the country for several years, returning to Mexico at the behest of President López Obrador in 2018. “With the inheritance of a union from his father and the business dynamic of his son, Senator Napito completes the trifecta: union power, political power, economic power,” wrote journalist and critic of the administration Carlos Loret de Mola in 2020.
On June 15, 2022, Gómez called for a strike at ArcelorMittal’s facilities in Michoacan. After a few hours of negotiation, the strike was stopped. Gómez was also involved in the strike that started at Americas Gold & Silver’s mine in Consalá, Sinaloa, which started on Jan. 28, 2022, and lasted five days. On Jul. 21, 2022, MBN reported that the US-based company Newmont reached an agreement with unionized workers at its Peñasquito unit in Mazapil Zacatecas over a profit-sharing agreement, which was reached without interrupting the company’s operations Gómez represented workers in the negotiation table there, too.