On February 19th, 2006 an explosion at Grupo México’s Pasta de Conchos coal mine in the northern state of Coahuila resulted in the deaths of 65 miners.
Almost five years later, the bodies of 63 of the 65 miners that died at Pasta de Conchos remain buried and the Mexican government has failed to investigate or prosecute those responsible. Their widows and families have never been properly compensated.
Since 2006 the Mexican government has escalated its illegal and violent attacks on the Mexican Miners’ Union – Los Mineros. The union that demanded justice for the “industrial homicide” at Pasta de Conchos and the recovery of the miners’ bodies.
The Mexican government has systematically and repeatedly violated Mexican law and international standards in an attempt to crush Los Mineros. The president of the union Napoleon Gomez is in exile supported by the United Steelworkers in Canada.
And Los Mineros are not alone. The few other genuinely independent trade unions seeking to improve the lives of Mexican workers have also found themselves increasingly under fire.
The continued violations of the right to freedom of association by the Mexican government must stop.
The now the global union federations IMF, ICEM, ITF and UNI are calling on affiliates from around the world to take action from February 14th until and as close as possible to the fifth anniversary of the Pasta de Conchos tragedy on February 19th.
They are calling on the Mexican government to:
1. Hold employer and government officials accountable for the Pasta de Conchos mine explosion that killed 65 miners on February 19th, 2006.
2. Abolish systemic violations of workers’ freedom of association, including employer-dominated “protection contracts” and interference in union elections.
3. End the use of force-by the state or private parties-to repress workers’ legitimate demands for democratic unions, better wages and working conditions, and good health and safety conditions.
4. End the campaign of political persecution against the Mexican Miner’s Union and the Mexican Electrical Workers’ Union.
To support these demands unions are being asked to:
- Demonstrate at the Mexican embassy or consulate in each country to deliver a letter of protest to the Mexican government;
- Meet with and briefing politicians who may have some influence on the Mexican government through international negotiations on trade or human rights;
- Seek meetings with investors and clients of these Mexican companies to outline the violation of fundamental rights; and
- Hold press conferences, stage media events and/or sending letters to editors to bring public awareness to the situation in Mexico.
In the forthcoming weeks additional background information, leaflets, protest materials and press kits will be made available through the global union websites. Put the dates in your diary and check the websites of International Metal Workers, ICEM, ITF and Uni for more information and press kits etc.