TORONTO - The fifth anniversary of the "industrial homicide" of 65 Mexican workers provides the backdrop for demonstrations in major Canadian cities against Mexico's violent repression of labour and human rights.
Events in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver this week are part of a 30-country campaign coordinated by international labour organizations.
Canadian activists also will meet with Mexican government representatives, calling on Mexico to comply with its own laws and meet international standards on human and labour rights.
The campaign coincides with the anniversary of 65 workers' deaths in an explosion at the Pasta de Conchos mine in Mexico, February 19, 2006.
Napoleon Gomez, leader of Mexico's Los Mineros union, accused the mine's owner of "industrial homicide." The company abandoned recovery efforts and sealed the mine, while the Mexican government failed to investigate or prosecute those responsible.
"We are drawing international attention to the Mexican government's ever-increasing rights violations," says the Tri-National Solidarity Alliance, a coalition of human rights and labour groups in Mexico, U.S. and Canada.
"The last five years have seen escalating persecution, violence and mass dismissals of Mexican workers and trade unionists. There are ongoing violations of basic rights to form unions, to bargain collectively, to strike and to defend workers' rights without repression."
Recent violations include the illegal dissolution of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union and mass firing of 44,000 workers, and the government's refusal to recognize a new union of technical and professional workers of the state-owned oil company and dismissal of the union's entire leadership.
- Toronto, February 14, 1 p.m., Mexican Consulate, 199 Bay Street.
- Ottawa, February 15, 3 p.m., Mexican Embassy, 45 O'Connor Street.
- Montreal, February 15, 11:30 a.m., Mexican Consulate, 2055 Peel Street.
- Vancouver, February 17, 10:30 a.m. (PST), Harbour Green Park (West Cordova and Bute).
(Participants: Canadian Labour Congress; Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ); Common Frontiers; Maquila Solidarity Network; United Steelworkers; Canadian Auto Workers; Public Service Alliance of Canada; Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union; Canadian Union of Public Employees; Canadian Union of Postal Workers; United Food and Commercial Workers).
For further information:
USW: Laura Ramirez, 416-876-2502 (www.usw.ca)
PSAC: Alain Cossette, 613-293-9210 (www.psac.com)
CEP: Duncan Brown, 416-605-4665 (www.cep.ca)
CAW: Annie Labaj, 416-402-8045 (www.caw.ca)
FTQ: Denise Gagnon, 514-383-8014 (www.ftq.qc.ca)
CLC: Lucien Royer, 613-302-5457 (www.canadianlabour.ca)
LOS MINEROS: Napoleon Gomez, 604-683-1117