Baja California’s maquiladora industry has not stopped activities despite the coVID-19 contingency, so until this Thursday there were 10 companies closed because it failed to respect the quarantine decreed by the federal government.
Added to this are the protests of workers in different maquiladora plants of the entity. On Thursday, a group of 70 workers from the Skyworks company in Mexicali, the political capital of that state, held a peaceful demonstration for the third day in a row after their working day.
Workers fear coronavirus in their work and bring the virus to their relatives.
They consider that the productive activity they carry out is not one of those listed as essential and in the face of the contingency by COVID 19 it is necessary to stay at home, as recommended by the Mexican authorities.
Read: Companies speculated and fired workers before emergency: Sheinbaum
Skyworks is an international company dedicated to the manufacture of semiconductors used in the medical, military and telecommunications industries. Currently in Mexicali has a staff of 2,500 employees and an operation of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Mexicali, together with Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, the three locations bordering the United States, concentrates much of the maquiladora export companies in Mexico.
In the case of Mexicali it has about 200 maquiladora companies. It has a population of one million inhabitants of which around 70 thousand work in the maquiladora export industry, according to figures from the Industrial Development Commission at the local level.
In the three days of demonstrations, nonconforming employees have attended their jobs during the 12 hours of their day, and then peacefully protested outside their workplace.
Employee Alberto, two years old at the factory, criticized that they have three days demonstrating and the union they belong to has not come close to defending them.
He said they know they belong to a union because their checks discount quotas, but they don’t know who the guild leaders are.
Find out: Government aid only to the poor, no business forgiveness for COVID-19: AMLO
For nonconforming employees, producing parts of microcomponents is not an essential activity, so they consider that they should stay home to comply with the presidential decree of 31 March last, which requires employers to pay full the wages of workers for 30 days.
The company in contrast considers that it is an activity considered essential, so it should not stop activities, the worker narrated.
In addition, the company is offering economic bonds to those who are working, the interviewee said.
In the event that the activity is considered essential, both in the workplace and in the personnel transport truck, sanitary measures must be met so as not to be at risk of contagion, the maquiladora employee said.
The protesters demanded the presence of the Secretariat of Labour and Social Welfare (STPS), so that the secretariat should monitor the conditions under which they are working, in addition to informing them whether their activity is essential or not.
The protest initiative was the decision of the workers, as the representatives of the union to which they contribute quotas, in the three days of demonstration has not come to advise them, the employee who expressed his displeasure with such a “white union”, that is, defender of non-working employers, said.
It’s being reviewed “very closely”
Rodolfo Andrade, chairman of the Mexicali Industrial Development Commission, reported that all so-called companies, from export maquiladoras and national ones, continue to operate in this locality, but also acknowledged that the Secretariat of Labour is carrying out inspections of the labour centres.
“The authority, the Secretariat of Labour, has been reviewing this issue very closely… not only if the company is essential but also the conditions of hygiene and distance of the workers,” he said.
He explained that at the moment there were companies that were being reviewed by the STPS authorities, to determine whether they were carrying out essential activities, as it acknowledged that after the federal government’s announcement there were doubts about industries engaged in essential activities.
He set the example of the Maquiladora industry in Mexicali, where a sector of companies (not specific which and how many) carry out activities related to the medical industry.
Read: Big companies that make layoffs during pandemic won’t do any more business in CDMX: Sheinbaum
However, he explained that there are currently between 50 and 70 companies that have come to the STPS to prove that they are within the sector considered essential. In this process, the authorities ask them for documents to prove their activity and to justify why they are essential.
“And as long as the approval of the authority doesn’t come, companies can’t operate,” he said.
On the case of protests in companies such as Skyworks, Andrade said that even though he does not know this case closely, this company carries out essential activities for the medical sector and other industries.
According to the Secretary of Labor at BC, Sergio Moctezuma Martínez, of the more than a thousand maquiladoras in all of Baja California, “there are approximately 130 maquiladoras that are non-essential activities”.
During a virtual conference, the official said a defined strategy is being told with municipal governments to “put hard hands on businesses” that do not comply with quarantine; In addition, he recalled that the transport of personnel in those companies with “essential” activities, must go through a process of cleaning and disinfection, called, to public transport, so that it even reduces the number of passengers.
Shut down companies
As non-essential activities before the presidential decree for the emergence of Covid 19, ten maquiladoras or industries were shut down by the Government of Baja California and the Federal Ministry of Health in Mexicali.
These companies are dedicated to the manufacture or assembly of televisions, lamps, feathers, waterproofing, veneers, spark plugs and even a call center.
As of April 8, Baja California’s citizenship had filed 36 complaints for alleged companies that were not complying with Covid’s emergency decree 19.
Among the companies that were placed suspension seal is Industria Zahoria, dedicated to the manufacture of waterproofers and asphalt with 600 employees; Spectrum Brands, who makes locks and badges, with a staff of 5,500 workers; in addition to Comercial Autolite, a company that manufactures spark plugs for vehicles with 700 employees.
Also, Eaton Cooper Lighting with 800 workers who manufacture incandescent lamps; LG Electronics assembling televisions with 500 employees; as well as International Manufacturing Technologies (Timsa), whose commercial turn is metal ship structures, with two plants employing 300 people.
The closure list continues with Newell Rubbermaid, a company dedicated to the manufacture of feathers and markers, with 2 thousand 600 workers in two directions.
All these workers must be at home and 100 per cent paid, said the head of the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS).
Also for unpacking orders and continuing to operate during the contingency of Covid 19, this Thursday, April 9, the companies Telvista, Clover and Cali Baja, dedicated to the service of customers by telephone, marketing of recycled material and preparation of supplies for mobile devices were added to the closings.
In the closing actions, there was also the participation of elements of the State Attorney General’s Office
With information from Francisco Sandoval.
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