Mexico, US close labor complaint at Draxton plant in Mexico
MEXICO CITY, July 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. and Mexico have resolved a worker rights probe at a Draxton auto parts plant in central Mexico, officials said on Monday, marking the latest labor complaint to be closed under a regional trade deal.
The U.S. government in May asked Mexico to review whether workers were being blocked from forming a new union at Draxton Mexico in the central city of Irapuato, in Guanajuato state. The plant makes iron and aluminum parts for carmakers such as Chrysler, Ford and Audi.
Draxton is a unit of Mexico's Grupo Industrial Saltillo (GISSAA.MX).
The U.S. has filed 11 such complaints in Mexico under the 2020 United States-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) as part of a historic effort to support the rights of workers to form unions. Some cases have paved the way for new labor representation and higher wages.
At Draxton, Mexican officials found that various instances appeared to violate worker rights, including company interference in union activity, the Mexican economy and labor ministries said in a joint statement.
As part of a U.S.-Mexico remediation plan with an Oct. 31 deadline, Mexican officials will ensure that Draxton issues a neutrality statement and trains personnel on adhering to it, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said.
The company will also re-hire a union representative with back pay who had been "unlawfully dismissed for advocating for workers," U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.
Draxton did not respond to a request for comment.
The dismissed union leader, Carlos Gonzalez, said in an interview that he lost his job more than a year ago.
He was eager to return to his workplace of a dozen years to encourage colleagues to defend their right to form unions and to campaign for SINTTIA, an independent labor group, to represent the plant in a push for better salaries.
"They shouldn't be intimidated or give up. Not everything ends with a dismissal," he said.
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