Mexican farmworkers, who have for months been protesting for better labor conditions in San Quintin, Baja California, achieved major gains Thursday after Mexican authorities agreed to 12 of their 14 demands.
After a 15-hour-long meeting that began Wednesday, Mexican authorities agreed to several of the laborers measures including ensuring access to social security, combating child labor, establishing greater security measures, building housing for workers and ensuring labor rights according to law.
However, the two sides had yet to agree wage increases, one of the principal reasons the farmworkers had initially began their protest. They did however agree on a three-week deadline in order to reach an agreement on wages. The next meeting between the two sides is scheduled June 4.
The San Quintin agricultural workers – many of whom are women and indigenous migrants from other Mexican states – began their strike March 17 with a work stoppage and temporary highway shutdown blocking a main transit way for agricultural goods headed northward to the U.S.
The workers, who have been demanding a solution to the semi-slave conditions they work in and support to guarantee a dignified living and an end to labor abuses, said they will continue to protest and mobilize until they reach a final agreement with authorities.
In an effort to escalate the pressure of their protest, the farmworkers called for a boycott of the international produce companies operating in the region, and launched an international campaign for a living wage.
Last weekend, tensions heated up between protesters and police forces, as protests left 70 community members injured and three dead. Fourteen demonstrators were also arrested, with their bail set at some 7 million pesos (US$463,000).
The Deputy Interior Minister Luis Enrique Miranda did not attend an earlier meeting with the striking agricultural workers, saying he was sick: