One of the largest Canadian trade unions is calling on the federal government to intervene with Mexican authorities and a Canadian mining company after two people were killed near a Canadian-operated gold mine in the country’s southern Guerrero state on Saturday.
The United Steelworkers (USW) says the murder of two striking workers underscores the widespread repression of basic labour rights in Mexico even as these fundamental rights are a key part of the proposed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement being renegotiated now.
“On Saturday, November 18 – four days after the Canadian government was warned of the potential for such violence – an armed group murdered two striking workers from the Canadian-owned Media Luna gold mine in the state of Guerrero,” Ken Neumann, the USW’s national director for Canada, said in a statement.
“The root of these brutal murders is the widespread repression of labour rights in Mexico – including by Canadian companies.” he Media Luna mine is owned by Canada’s Torex Gold Resources.
Corrupt protection unions
In an interview with Radio Canada International, Mark Rowlinson, assistant to Neumann, said Torex Gold has signed an agreement with Mexico’s largest confederation of so-called “protection unions,” the Confederación de Trabajadores de México (CTM).
These “corrupt protection unions” don’t legitimately represent workers and it is common for foreign companies to sign agreements with these unions to prevent workers from joining legitimate unions that will fight for their rights, Rowlinson said.