Several PEMEX employees reported they are at a risk of burnouts and workplace accidents as a result of strenuous working hours, lacking detection mechanisms and timely treatment of fatigue symptoms.
Workers and doctors of the state oil company denounced the problem. They pointed out that this situation led to an increase in requests for early retirement as well as loss of productivity because of the physical and emotional damage suffered by employees, who say they have reached the limit of exhaustion extreme or burnout.
“You come in at 7 a.m. and sometimes you leave at 1 or 2 a.m. There is no human being who can stand this. Some colleagues have had a heart attack, lost their sight or developed diabetes due to this overwork. I, for example, have some 'blackouts' or 'absences', during which I suddenly stare, without blinking, and I lose track of what I was saying," An anonymous worker told La Jornada.
“I understand the alliances of the company's doctors, but it seems that they disparage what happens to us,” the employee stressed. Silvia Ramos Luna, General Secretary, the Union of Petroleum Technicians and Professionals (UNTyPP), agreed that cases like this are not isolated. Nevertheless, many workers do not dare to report the issues for fear of being fired or suffering some other retaliation.
Ramos pointed out that many cases of burnout in PEMEX occur in workers assigned to offshore platforms or ships. “I know of the case of a colleague who has been working around the clock for months and has even worked up to 32 hours in a row. That hurts, because we need to sleep, but in a plant or a refinery you cannot because you have to take decisions,” the worker shared.
“PEMEX has an unsatisfactory work environment. They have become harassers; they deny you permits and vacations. The administrators think that by having around for 24 hours we will solve problems, but due to fatigue, we do not make the best decisions,” added the employee.
PEMEX informed that it initiated the 2022-2023 salary review with the Mexican Oil Workers Union (STPRM). The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS). In 2021, the oil union negotiated the 2021-2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement to offer a 3.40 percent increase in salaries and 1.76 percent increase in benefits, avoiding a strike. Working hours are also a part of the agreement, though the stories from employees paint a different picture than the one on paper.