Samsung workers in Mexico on hunger strike - Solidarity needed

Four female workers, unfairly fired and victims of workplace abuse, have caged themselves and sewn their lips shut as they launch a hunger strike and one threatens to burn herself alive in a dramatic protest against the multinational corporation Samsung.

Submitted by Escarabajo on July 16, 2011

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Four female workers, unfairly fired and victims of workplace abuse, have caged themselves and sewn their lips shut as they launch a hunger strike and threatens to burn herself alive in a dramatic protest against the multinational corporation Samsung,funded by Korean capital which is currently constructing a plant for the extraction of natural gas in the Mexican port of Manzanillo, in the state of Colima.

Madaí Díaz Rodríguez, Sandra Gómez, Lourdes Zamora y Elvira Orozco worked in the kitchen of the Ingeniería Civil construction company, subcontracted by the multinational and whilst working were victims of constant abuse and mistreatment which escalated to daily verbal and physical violence from their Korean bosses and foremen. To these facts there can also be added multiple instances of arbitrary treatment and labour abuses such as the imposition of 12-hour days, with no pay for the extra hours which were their legal right. This situation is a daily reality for the hundreds of workers who lend their services to the aforementioned company.

The inhuman and degrading conditions imposed on both male and female workers have already resulted in a diversity of protests, including a strike, without any affect on the violation of human and labour rights. On the 3rd June of last year, Madaí Díaz, a single mother workign as a cook, initiated the protests against the abitrary sacking and beatings dealt out to her by Korean employees. In the first instance she locked herself in a cage and sewed shut her lips, before days later caging herself again along with her two children, after which she officially denounced her aggressors, an accusation that has not had any effect.

Last July 6 the compañera Madaí, who had been reinstalled, was once again attacked and thrown out of work; failing to receive a positive response to her demands for justice from either the labour authorities or her union, she returned to the cage, accompanied by her workmates who had also been fired. They are currently on hunger strike and have sewn their lips shut. Furthermore, Madaí has declared her readiness to take the extreme action of setting herself on fire in the event of receiving an unsatisfactory answer to her demands.

It must be mentioned that the construction of the gas plant in Manzanillo has itself provoked multiple instances of rejection, both for the serious environmental effects it will impose on the coastal and lagoon region into which it will be embedded, and for those that it will cause to the economy and life of the fishing towns of the zone.

As can be observed, this is a situation of serious conflict and the potential exists or it to worsen, with even greater effects on the health, physical integrity and life of the compañeras in protest. All this is caused, needles to say, by the violatory and merciless infringement of every human and labour norm on the part of the transnational business and its representatives.

Faced with the events related herein, the solidarity of all organizations is an urgent necessity. Coordinated and determined action is required to oblige the bosses of this transnational to desist from their arbitrary actions, to demand that the governmental authorities that cease their indolence and intervene to achieve a solution and, above all, to prevent a dramatic end to this conflict.

We ask all organizations to declare their demands through the sending of communiqués to the following:

C. Mario Anguiano Moreno
Gobernador Constitucional
Estado de Colima
[email protected]
C. Gustavo Adolfo Buenrostro Cabello
Presidente Municipal
Manzanillo, Colima
[email protected]
Centre of Labour Investigation and Union Advice

(Sample letter reproduced below in Spanish and English)
A nombre de nuestra organización, (___________), queremos comunicarle que hemos sido enterados de la difícil situación de conflicto por la que atraviesan las trabajadoras Madaí Díaz Rodríguez, Sandra Gómez, Lourdes Zamora y Elvira Orozco, quienes se encuentran en huelga de hambre y realizando una protesta por el despido injustificado y los abusos de que han sido objeto por parte de la empresa Ingeniería Civil y, por medio de esta, de la empresa transnacional Samsung.

Por este conducto manifestamos nuestra más enfática solidaridad con las compañeras y su protesta, así como nuestro rechazo a las ilegales prácticas de que han sido objeto ellas y sus compañeros trabajadores. Por tal motivo nos permitimos solicitar a ustedes su inmediata intervención para:

·La solución satisfactoria e inmediata de las demandas de las trabajadoras

·El cese a las violaciones a los derechos laborales y humanos de ellas y de quienes laboran en las empresas mencionadas

·El castigo legal a las y los responsables de las agresiones a que hemos hecho referencia;  y,

·Sobre todo y de manera urgente, evitar que el asunto que nos ocupa tenga un desenlace lamentable que afecte aun más la integridad física y la salud de dichas trabajadoras.

Con la seguridad de recibir mediante su pronta acción una atención positiva a lo aquí planteado, quedamos de ustedes

(Nombre del responsable y de la organización)

In the name of our organization, (___________), we wish to communicate that we have been made aware of the difficult situation of conflict that confronts the workers Madaí Díaz Rodriguez, Sandra Gómez, Lourdes Zamora and Elvira Orozco, who are currently on hunger strike in protest at the unwarranted dismissal and the abuses to which they have been subjected by the business Civil Engineering and, through this, by the transnational business Samsung.

The extreme measures to which the dismissed workers have been forced are, according to our information, due to the situation of generalized violation of their human and labour rights that they have suffered, the same that has arrived at acts of violence, harassment and other aggressions and that is also suffered by the workers employed in the construction of the gas plant in the Port of Manzanillo.

By these means we hereby declare our most emphatic solidarity with the compañeras and their protest, as well as our rejection of the illegal practices to which they and their fellow workers have been subjected. For such motive we request your immediate intervention for:

·An immediate and satisfactory solution to the workers' demands

·The cessation of all violation of human and labour rights of the workers concerned and of all those working in the aforementioned companies

·Legal redress for those responsable for the aggressiones to which we have made reference; and,

·Above all, and as a matter of urgency, that you act to ensure that this situation does not end tragically and affect still further the physical integrity and health of said workers.

In the expectation of receiving a swift and positive response from yourselves to that laid out above, we remain attentively yours,

(Name of official and organisation)
Please send a copy to:

Centro de Investigacion Laboral y Asesoria Sindical
Tabasco 262 Planta Baja, Colonia Roma, Delegación Cuauhtémoc
México, DF CP 06700
Tel/Fax: +52 (55) 5207 4147
+52 (55) 5514 7675