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Demanding an increase in wage and compensation bonus, almost 40,000 factory workers stopped working in around 50 factories in Matamoros, Mexico.
Around 40,000 factory workers from 45 "maquiladoras" (factories) in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico have been striking in demand of annual salary increase since Jan. 12. They are demanding an increase of 20 percent and a compensation bonus.
Union of Laborers and Industrial Workers of the Maquiladora Industry which is part of the Confederation of Workers of Mexico (CTM) called for a strike in the industrial town of Mexico.
Heroica de Matamoros, the second most populated city in Tamaulipas, consists of 122 companies which mainly produces commodities for exportation to the United States, including cables, electrical components, parts and accessories for vehicles, textiles, chemical products, machinery, and computer products.
According to the municipal government, authorities invest around US$60 million in the factories.
Among the factories that stopped work are Dura de Mexico, Olson, Politech, Autoliv, Kongsberg, Cepillos de Matamoros. Over 50 factories stopped production due to strikes costing the corporations US$100 million in a week.
Alina R. Duarte, teleSUR correspondent from Mexico wrote on Twitter “Dozens have already been dismissed for organizing. It is incredible that the media in Mexico are ignoring the great labor struggle that is taking place in Matamoros, Tamaulipas.”
Más de 30 mil trabajadores de 45 maquilas en huelga. Decenas ya han sido despedidxs por organizarse. Es increíble que los medios de comunicación en México estén omitiendo la gran lucha obrera que se está llevando a cabo en Matamoros, Tamaulipas. pic.twitter.com/hriqQ6GCi9
The companies employ more than 80,000 workers and 25,000 are indirectly employed by the same which equals 80 percent of employment in the region.
The factory workers in Matamoros live in precarity due to dangerous working conditions and low wages. The average monthly salary of the workers ranges from US$190 to US$337.60 per month depending on the functions of the workers. This salary is 30 percent lower than the national average.
The striking workers demanded clarity in this year’s salary review process. "It is rumored that the annual bonus that is given year after year would not be given [this year] and the raise that was given was very little," said one of the protesters.
"The specific request to increase the salary is no less than 20 percent for each of the categories of our tabulators, regardless of the new minimum wage of 176 pesos (approximately US$9.19)," reads a letter addressed to the companies and signed by the union.