A few years ago, Guadalupe sweeping the floors of the halls of a high school in Mexico City; Ema was attending a patient in a public hospital in Chiapas; Olivia was preparing to leave in Sinaloa clean seafood; Brenda and decorating products in a maquila of Coahuila. None thought it would become defenders of the rights of the workers.
In Mexico, the North American Free Trade Agreement that allowed the entry of foreign companies into the country for the use of cheap labor; the amendments to the Social Security System 1997 that limited access to retirement pensions; the labor reform of 2012 regularized outsourcing; and increased protection contracts in unions, are some of the bastions of a national project that takes more than 20 years precarious work, mainly in sectors where women are employed. Model translates into salaries are not enough to buy at least a basic basket, work more than 10 continuous hours, as well as violence, harassment, discrimination and impunity.
Far from believing that there are no options, workers are opting to organize, demanding better conditions inside and outside their workplaces, and to inform the population about the urgency to see decent work as any human right. They remain in resistance but can involve them layoffs, stigmatization, family breakdown, and even risks his own life, as we told some workers from different sectors purpose interviewed Labor Day.
A DEFENDERS OF WORKERS
Many of these workers never believed that, along with others, defend labor rights and that this would transform his life forever. Guadalupe Carrasco, Quartermaster was working -along with 58 companions farewell more- in January 2016 the Institute of Higher Secondary Education Mexico City (IEMS) to demand job security, social security and higher wages to 500 thousand pesos biweekly they received.
His dismissal led her to take first a microphone to speak in front of a group of people, participate in meetings with government officials, leading rallies and public demonstrations, and meet many other struggles that later joined.
Guadalupe is at the forefront of this struggle for decent work representing many of her peers, many of them are single adult over 60 mothers. She continued on resistance despite the obstacles you have to face not only lost his job, a deep stigma was also faced in his inner circle, for example, separated from her husband because he «ashamed» she participate in public events. She is responsible for the maintenance of a child and has no other fixed income. In addition, the camp that installed outside a school of MESG, where he spends most of the time, and was searched twice.
Outsourcing - regularized in Mexico in 2012 prevented the workers were reinstated clean after his unfair dismissal because neither the Institute nor the company assume their responsibilities as employers. After massive layoffs, IEMS authorities denied that they had any employment relationship with the workers; on the contrary, it was revealed that for several years the city government outsources clean service through companies who oversees not to respect rights.
In this situation, the workers decided to organize, made seedlings outside schools where toiled, asked advice to civil society organizations, were trained in labor rights, initiated rallies and fought back. To keep selling food, organize soccer tournaments and other events, and have a boat which gives them raise money people. Now they engaged to learn more about the history of social struggles, labor justice, human rights and to teach others to defend quartermaster.
Guadalupe defender is assumed and said his biggest lesson is that «even though the family does not understand you, tells you why you’re fighting and how you think you will win, when you know the history of struggles in this country, where even many leave life, you know it is worth it because all fights won the organized people.»
Olivia Guzman, a worker who migrates every year from Sinaloa to the US under the system Work Visas H2-A and H2-B for use in different industries, match Guadalupe. She claims to defend labor rights is a difficult and important decision you directly life - changing.
Assuming that wanted to demand better working conditions, Olivia risked no recruiter would take her to America, recorded in the blacklisting and stigmatized as «troubled»; In addition, in the same community labor rights are not seen as human rights. This makes it difficult for people like her being recognized as defenders, which, he said, «gives you the opportunity to explain to other comrades who not only defend the rights for you, but it is something for everyone, and if the defend together everything will be better.»
Temporary migrant workers traveling with the visa system suffer undue charges during recruitment, exploitation, overcrowding, piecework payments that it leads them to comply exhausting days, sexual harassment and discrimination. To address these abuses, they formed the Coalition of Workers Temporary Migrant Sinaloenses -made by people like Olivia, among other actions, inform others about work visas, their rights and how to defend them . This coalition has had several achievements, including initiating legal proceedings against a recruiter who committed fraud.
Repression and stigma is a constant for the defenders of these rights. Another example is that of maquila workers Johnson Control in Monclova, Coahuila, which since 2016 were dismissed from their workplaces to demand their union to improve their conditions, for example, they gave off unjustifiably people, violated guarantees pregnant women and demanding work days over 10 hours.
In this regard, Brenda Torres, one of the dismissed workers reported that they decided to organize because they were up over 20 years, in some cases, unfair working conditions. For example, she had no time to be with his family and could not claim any rights because it became retaliation. To them they fired the company but after the «boletinó» in other factories that do not obtain employment.
After this process, Brenda understood that companies, in collusion with the corporatist unions see workers as «enslaving machines» regardless of their life beyond work, so make them believe that they have no choice of life or work . «We live in a society that is accustomed to work, work, no time for the whole thing. You have to learn, because not worth living abused, humiliated, and quiet, humiliated. (...) I discovered that once you break with that discover that if you can live differently, to spend more time with your family and have more time for you.»
Recently, the workers have already won part of the process of legal defense for reinstallation, but also managed to get his despido- -after the company reduced one hour 20 minutes daily working hours of those who were, and still stand still fighting for they have a long way to go.
L as health workers in February 2017 began a hunger strike outside the Hospital of Women in Chiapas , are another example of the defense of labor rights it means the defense of other rights.
Their protest, for example, revealed that the Institute of Local Health owed to the workers in this sector paying more benefits, but also showed that in the hospitals and medical units of the most remote municipalities of central Chiapas no no drugs or materials necessary for the care of people.
Maria de Jesus Espinoza, Ema Escobar Lopez, Veronica Zenteno and Modesta Saldana, who participated in the strike and the movement of health workers, agreed that the absence of payment of benefits was indebted families but what triggered the strike was nurses and did not want to see people die for lack of care, or ask people to pay for their medication bag had to be guaranteed.
«If you do not bring or to pay a taco outside the hospital, how they are going to ask them to pay studies of more than 3,000 pesos. I did not want to be complicit in these abuses that went against the entire population, both working in the health sector like other people»(...)«They were very critical moments, some had triple day, sometimes being a parent, but was organizing a tool to enforce its obligations to the state, because we knew that abuses do not continue. The lesson is that we must follow I walked organized way, and we know that assists us reason and justice will come,»they reported women.
Defenders survived during the strike with the support of other workers in the sector and the solidarity of the people carrying them water, money, and drugs. The workers suspended after several days this protest, but decided to continue negotiating table with the authorities.
During that strike, an advocate grandmother died and workers affected his health. So far, the government still owes them several payments and has not completed the supply of drugs; however, he issued arrest warrants for «mutiny» against different workers and workers who participated in the defense of rights.
As these cases, there are processes of resistance throughout the country. For example the laborers of the San Quintin Valley in 2015 participated in a strike to improve their wages; textile workers in Puebla who formed cooperatives so that their work did not depend on the factories; or domestic workers who managed the formation of a collegial and independent union. These processes are led by women who refused to accept -coinciden- labor exploitation, and became defenders to transform the conditions of employment and living for themselves and those around them.