Organisations from across the world have signed on to a letter to Lexmark expressingoutrage and concern for workers at Lexmark’s factory in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Since last November hundreds of employees have been protesting their extraordinarily low wages, the arbitrary firings of 120 workers, and unacceptable working conditions.
Organisations from across the world have signed on to a letter to Lexmark expressing outrage and concern for workers at Lexmark’s factory in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Since last November hundreds of employees have been protesting their extraordinarily low wages, the arbitrary firings of 120 workers, and unacceptable working conditions.
According to the workers, management failed to follow through with the promised thirty‐five cents a day wage increase as well as the legally required aguinaldo (Christmas bonus) at the end of 2015. Workers report being docked an excessive amount of pay for legitimate absences. They complain of sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions exposing them to hazardous chemicals without appropriate protective gear. When workers attempted to organise in order to rectify these conditions they were met with mass firings, threats and intimidation. Reportedly, local management is now engaged in an illegal attempt to intimidate and bribe workers to abandon their organising efforts. It appears that Lexmark management is conspiring together with the state labor authorities to violate the rights of your workers under Mexican Labor Law, The North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), the Conventions of the International Labor Organization and Lexmark's own corporate Vision and Values, Code of Ethics and Human Rights Policy.
Trade unions and human rights organisations are calling upon Lexmark to:
- Engage in good‐faith with workers' representatives based on mutual respect, on their concerns regarding working conditions, including the provision of adequate safety equipment, access to effective recourse for sexual harassment, and fair wages;
- Recognise publicly the rights of workers to form an independent union and elect their own representatives;
- Reinstate the dismissed workers to their former positions with full back pay of wages owed since the day of dismissal;
- Cease all threatening and discriminatory behaviour, including attempts to take legal action against workers for seeking to organise;
- Pay the legally owed Aguinaldo benefits to all employees, including to those who were dismissed illegally; and
- Cease attempts to buy off workers, without representation of counsel, by paying them less than the legally required severance pay.
See attached letter for more details.
The letter is also available in Spanish.
At the CEREAL website, a video is uploaded with testimonies of wronged workers. In this video workers and their lawyers explain the emergence of recent labour struggles in several maquiladoras in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. The labour protests that started in August 2015 at ADC/Commscope led to protests at other multinational companies in Ciudad Juarez, including Foxconn, Eaton and Lexmark. In addition to demand better wages, better working conditions and decent treatment, the protests are focused on creating independent unions for the defense of workers’ rights.
In November 2015, GoodElectronics already reported on the case, but no progress was made in finding lasting resolutions.
The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre posted news and updates on the case at its website and invited Lexmark, as well as CommScope and Foxconn, to respond. Their responses are available here.
Lexmark is a provider of printing and imaging products, software, solutions and services, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. Lexmark is listed at the New York Stock Exchange and noted $3.7 billion in revenue in 2014, with approximately 57% from international sales. Since 2010, Lexmark invested approximately $1 billion in strategic software acquisitions. Read more.