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‘Long overdue’: Unifor standing behind 25,000 Mexican auto workers who’ve walked off the job

Unifor Canada is standing behind striking workers in the Mexican border city Matamoros, where tens of thousands of auto parts and plastics plant employees walked off the job last week in an action that industry groups say is costing US$50 million per day.

An estimated 25,000 workers at about 48 factories went on strike last Friday to demand higher pay. Minimum wage for maquiladora workers in border towns such as Matamoros, a city with about 130 factories directly south of Brownsville, Texas, is about $9.20 a day or $1.15 an hour. Workers were pushing for a 20 per cent raise and a one-time bonus of $1,700.

As of Thursday, at least 18 plants acquiesced to the pressure to avoid breaching contracts with the automotive industry, according to industry groups including Index and the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA). In a statement, these groups put the $50 million price tag on the strike, called the workers’ demands “unacceptable” and stated the disruption could put jobs at risk if factories decide to move shop.

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