Wave of walkouts in Matamoros, Mexico builds toward general strike
7 February 2019
The courage and victory of the initial strike wave of 70,000 workers at 45 “maquiladoras” in Matamoros, Mexico has inspired new and broader sections of workers to go on strike.
According to government statistics, over the past week 15,000 more workers have launched wildcat strikes in a rebellion against four unions and their companies while the vast majority of workers at the original 45 striking plants have now won their demands. The walkouts now encompass auto parts, electrical, trash collection, supermarket, textile, food processing and other workers. The movement is growing in the direction of a general strike.
The renewed wave of strikes takes place after workers at 41 of the 45 plants organized by the Union of Laborers and Industrial Workers of the Maquiladora Industry (SJOIIM) rebelled against the union and the companies and won a 20 percent wage increase and a 32,000 peso ($US1,700) bonus, or what the workers call their “20 and 32.” Based on this initial shot across the bow, workers from another 32 companies have followed suit and have launched their own wildcat strikes.
Significantly, the strikes are taking place even though workers from the Industrial Union of Workers at Maquiladora and Assembly Plants (SITPME) and the Union of Workers in the Maquiladora and Assembly Industry (STIME) did not have a yearly bonus pegged to increases in the minimum wage stipulated in their contract, which was the initial impetus for the first strike wave on January 12. Instead, workers are fighting with a conscious understanding that they deserve more from…