From the March-April 2020 issue of News & Letters
In Zacatecas, Durango and Chihuahua, more than 18,000 workers at the U.S. company Aptiv’s maquiladora plants walked out on Jan. 30 and 31 because, after a 120-peso wage increase, Aptiv withheld much more than that for taxes. Workers said: “We thought that the labor reform was to improve the conditions of workers.”
In Zacatecas, on Jan. 31, thousands of workers found that 687 pesos of their 1,100 pesos weekly wages had been withheld for taxes. They decided to march to the Tax Administration Service (SAT) rather than start work.
Petra García, representative of the workers, said: “We made an appointment with the Treasury for Feb. 4 to see why this time the year’s tax was deducted in one month. People are going without food.”
Workers at four plants went back to work after getting an agreement that SAT would suspend collection of income tax, and that same day the money it had deducted was refunded via electronic banking.
WORKERS FORCED ACTION
In Chihuahua, workers at Aptiv plants in Ciudad Juárez and Parral also stopped work. One worker said that Aptiv executives “promised to return the money that afternoon, but as loans and not wages, which we refused.” A group of young women from the maquiladora said: “We are asking for what belongs to us, for what is right. The bosses are hiding. The wage increase was 120 pesos and they took a lot more. So why are we working?”
In Parral city, security guards stopped all but 50 workers from getting out to demonstrate. More than half a million workers in the state of Chihuahua will see their weekly salary reduced under new fiscal regulations.
In Durango, 8,000 striking workers in two plants rejected the company’s proposals: (1) to return money withheld to the workers and instead withhold it in installments; and (2) to absorb the tax deductions, because this would only work for one occasion, while the problem would continue for the following months.
Thanks to the strike, the workers managed to reduce the income tax by the company compensating the Treasury. For its part, the Conciliation and Arbitration Board indicated that the income tax reduction should be applied as of April, by law.
TAKING FROM POOR TO PROP UP RICH
The current regime in Mexico supports the extractivist neoliberal system. It not only offers big capital the optimal conditions for super-exploitation and global accumulation, but now snatches more from workers’ income in order to finance the social programs with which it hopes to deceive the 30 million voters who are beginning to challenge the “change” of the current regime.
—Translated from Praxis en América Latina, Feb.-March 2020, which cites articles in La Jornada, El Sol de Parral and El Heraldo de Chihuahua on Feb. 1, 2020.