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No NAFTA without Mexican labour reform: Unifor

November 21, 2017

Mexico City –As round five of NAFTA renegotiations ended, Unifor called Mexico’s announcement that it will increase the minimum wage insufficient.

“Unfortunately even after this increase minimum wage earners will be paid about 88 pesos or six dollars Canadian a day, which still leaves them below the Mexican poverty line,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. ”In terms of balancing trade it’s irrelevant as there is no way for American and Canadian workers to compete with counterparts who are being paid pennies an hour.”

In addition to increased wages, Unifor also called on the Mexican government to implement promised constitutional reforms to enhance labour laws, and to accept the language proposed by the Canadian NAFTA negotiators on labour standards.

“Today I went to the Media Luna mine where striking Mexican miners were brutally murdered because they wanted to join a free union,” said Dias. “Workers’ rights must be included in the body of any new trade deal.”

The two miners were shot and killed November 18, 2017 near the mine, which is owned by Canada's Torex Gold Resources. Approximately 600 miners are attempting to leave the corporate and state sanctioned CTM to join the independent Los Mineros union.

In a show of solidarity, Dias joined Los Mineros and community members today to mourn the murdered miners. The visit followed his challenge to President Enrique Peña Nieto to accept the proposed NAFTA labour reforms, which include a requirement for free association and bargaining rights.

“Mexican workers live under threat of violence and exploitation by multinational corporations and corrupt company unions,” Dias said. “Unifor will never support a NAFTA agreement without labour reform in Mexico.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell) or Assistant to the National President Scott Doherty at 416-407-4301.