PEMEX Union Calls for StrikeBy Cas Biekmann | Thu, 09/23/2021 - 10:44
Mexico’s Oil Workers Union (STPRM)’s Section 34 has called for a strike. The workers within the union allege that PEMEX still owes them a response regarding a proposal for increased salary and better benefits as part of the so-called Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2021-2023.
In a press release, STPRM blames the NOC for not having made the arrangements for proper negotiations. This led the union to call for a strike in accordance with terms set out in the Federal Labor Law. STPRM furthermore highlights that it does not aim to create a snowball effect because its workers are fully aware of the strategic importance the oil and gas industry has for Mexico. “We do not wish for this strike or any other action that threatens our company, which sustains the nation, only thoughtfulness and empathy from PEMEX officials,” the statement reads.
According to the union, the deadline for signing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement expired on July 30. Since this period, no new negotiations or proposals appeared to have been formalized, leading to the decision of PEMEX’s unionized workers to resort to the strike.
"We oil workers are as soldiers of our homeland. However, this notification is merely a legal mechanism to guarantee the right to demand compliance with the Collective Labor Agreement. We only ask for dialogue and a solution,” explained the union further.
Earlier this month, President López Obrador announced that the Ministry of Labor had readied an electronic platform on which workers could vote who for the replacement of the notorious former head of STPRM, Romero Deschamps. Deschamps had been expelled from the union in July 2019 after he was charged with corruption and left the NOC. Although the former union leader claimed he received a modest trade salary of around US$2,000 per month, other members suspected him to have used the union as a platform for personal enrichment and to exert a higher amount of political influence.
The right to strike is anchored within Mexico’s constitution, making it a meaningful instrument for unions registered with the right public entities. Academics in Mexico often highlight that many of these unions were founded by the state itself in the past. This came about as a way to exert political influence on workers, although these workers often benefitted from such arrangements. Nevertheless, government statistics show that only around 4.5 million workers were registered in unions in the course of 2020, suggesting that the power of these unions is waning. With high-profile cases such as Deschamps’ reaching headlines, many workers view unions in a negative light. For state industries the situation is slightly different, exemplified by STPRM’s relevancy. Additionally, workers unionized at state news agency Notimex have currently been on strike for over a year.