As President Donald Trump is busy blaming Mexican workers for American workers problems arguing that a wall along the US Mexican border will stop immigrants ‘stealing’ jobs. Mexican workers are calling for global class unity against the corporate capitalists that are truly to blame for declining wages and living standards. Workers across rich nations are used to threats of moving factories during contract negotiations which force workers to take lower pay and less benefits or risk losing their job to countries like Mexico where the government are willing to allow corporations to pay much less to workers. People in Mexico have begun calling for a global union run by workers for the benefit of workers instead of corrupt unions that are in bed with the corporations they are tasked with negotiating with. The global interconnectivity of the auto industry can be used as a strength for workers everywhere rather than a tool to deprive everyone.
Strikes began in Mexico at the end of January when 70,000 auto parts workers refused to work over continued disputes about low wages slowing down production at General Motors and Ford assembly plants in the US. The workers organised their own union by electing two representatives from each striking plant who have been tasked with co-ordinating events, sharing information between strikers, and appealing to the public to join the struggle.
So far this has resulted in 450,000 people taking part in a ‘day without workers’ and is the largest strike on the continent in 20years. This included workers from across sectors including supermarkets, refuse collectors, workers from the largest Coca-Cola bottling plant in the world. They marched to the US border chanting ‘gringos wake up’ and ‘Bourgeoise get out’ calling for a global unity amongst workers. Separately teachers across Mexico have been blocking railways calling for the money that was promised to them but has still not been received. Daily protests have occurred in the Matamoras town square and they do not appear to be stopping. The car plant workers who started it all have been awarded a 20% wage increase and $1,700 in bonuses but the movement does not appear to be lowing down.
This is an organic social movement that cuts out corrupt trade unions who often receive money from the corporations they are supposed to fight causing them to be accommodating to the business rather than fighting on behalf of members. Those striking are against the unions who they argue are good at taking membership fees but fail to share contract information or negotiate better working conditions. In response to the strike’s corporations have fired 1,500 and plan to fire 25,000 more within 3 years in an attempt to quell the already stoked fire. State and federal police along with soldiers have been sent to attempt to stop the strikes while other workers are being physically locked in their places of work.
Globalisation has facilitated the exploitation of workers globally, but it can be used against the owners of production. Workers whom produce products have the power to stop production which is the case in Mexico where one week of strikes resulted in $100 million lost profits for these car manufacturers. Rather than competing with other countries for higher wages the Mexican strikers argue that worker’s around the world and specifically Mexico, Canada, and the US should unite against exploitative trade deals and the corporations who profit from our hard work. There has been a distinct lack of coverage in the international press because this is how we can change our world for the better by uniting against the ruling class who have drained our resources in the pursuit of profit.