Strikes in Mexico: the Audi case

In the current panorama of strikes in Mexico, the Audi case opened a new era in labor negotiations between workers and companies. Óscar De la Vega, who handled the case on behalf of the assembler, talks with Líder Empresarial.

Note published on May 15, 2024 in liderempresarial.com, Workers section, by Jesús Reynoso. Mention: Óscar De la Vega.

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After months of negotiation between the Independent Union of Audi México Workers (SITAUDI)) and the company, a strike at the Audi plant broke out on January 24, 2024. This labor dispute finally came to a conclusion after 24 days of work stoppage. 

The company’s workers accepted a salary increase of 10.2% distributed in 7% directly to salary and the rest, 3.2%, allocated to benefits. The approval of the agreement was made with the support of over 60% of the votes, representing three thousand and 348 employees.

In the voting process, 3 thousand 348 votes in total were cast, out of which 2 thousand and 220 (66.3%) votes were in favor of the agreement and one thousand 128 (33.7%) against it and, through this vote, the salary and benefits increase offered by the company to the SITAUDI was accepted.

What are the new challenges in strikes in Mexico? 

Óscar De la Vega Gómez, labor lawyer who was in charge of the negotiations in this case, emphasized that this event marked the beginning of a new era in labor relationships and that, additionally, some of the effects of the new labor reform crystallized in this process. 

In this sense, the process of negotiation in the Audi strike in Mexico, which lasted for months prior to the end of the validity of the collective bargaining agreement, showed the deficiencies of the system for resolving strikes in Mexico, according to De la Vega

The lawyer highlighted the need for reforming the strike procedure in order to make it more efficient, as the period of 60 days established by law before resorting to private arbitration can be detrimental both for companies and workers.

In this Context, Óscar De la Vega suggests that the Federal Labor Law consider the possibility of resolving strikes through the mediation of private arbitration, which could expedite the resolution of disputes and prevent the economic deterioration of companies. 

Audi Mexico opens a new era in collective labor negotiations

De la Vega Gómez highlighted that in a labor outlook marked by the search for competitive salaries and optimal labor conditions, companies like Audi in Mexico stand out for their commitment with the well-being of their employees. He stated that, contrary to the belief that some companies seek to pay low salaries, the focus of these organizations is the exact opposite.

Likewise, he pointed out that Audi, ranked as the second best-paying company at the national level, offers high quality benefits and services to its workers. Despite being a relatively young company in the Country, it has positioned itself as a benchmark in terms of labor salaries and benefits. In addition to competitive salaries, he said that the company provides exciting benefits and first-level services, including transportation for employees from their locations to the plant.

On the other hand, the lawyer recognized by Law Business Research, a British publishing group, pointed out that this focus on the wellbeing and fair remuneration for the worker reflects a trend in the labor arena, where a growing pressure to improve salaries is being seen, particularly from the United States government. 

Additionally, unions and the United States government itself are granting subsidies and providing training to the union bases to professionalize collective bargaining processes.

Lastly, he pointed out that this pressure for higher salaries and proper working conditions is concentrated in particular in companies with high exports to the United States. Given the foregoing, it is evident that the drive for improving working conditions is generating a significant change in the way in which companies operate and in how they treat their employees.

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