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Unifor calls for safe return of exiled Mexican union leader

September 4, 2017
Mexico City –

Unifor National President Jerry Dias has called on the Mexican government for the safe return of the President of the Los Mineros union, who has been living in exile in Canada.

“Los Mineros is a leader in the fight for the rights of Mexican workers, but while I have the privilege of standing before you today your President is forced to live in exile in Canada,” Dias told the 500 conference delegates. “Unifor calls on the Mexican government to publicly state that Napoleón Gómez Urrutia can return to home to Mexico with a guarantee of his safety”.

Urrutia, President of Los Mineros (the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Similar Workers of the Mexican Republic), spoke to conference delegates by video from Canada, where he has been living in exile since false criminal charges were laid against him in 2006. Years later the charges were thrown out but, as a prominent labour leader, Urrutia’s safety remains at risk.

“The attack on freedom of association and on workers ability to organize must stop”, said Dias. “We will not be broken and we will not be intimidated.”

He also told delegates that a united labour movement must ensure that workers needs are brought to the NAFTA renegotiation table. Dias is in Mexico with Unifor Quebec Director Renaud Gagné to provide advice to the Canadian NAFTA negotiation team during the current round of talks, taking place until September 5, 2017.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 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.
To book an interview with Jerry Dias please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).