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New independent Mexican union wins wage increase at GM plant

MEXICO CITY (AP) – A new independent union at a Mexican auto plant that won a historic organising vote last year has negotiated an 8.5-per-cent wage increase for unionised employees.

Authorities said on Friday that workers at the General Motors (GM) transmission and pickup plants in the northern Mexico city of Silao voted overwhelmingly to approve the new contract, which also increases benefits by 2.5 per cent.

The federal labour board said that in voting on Wednesday and Thursday, 87 per cent of the plant’s 6,331 unionised employees voted in favour of the new contract.

Plant employees had not previously been able to vote openly, by secret ballot, on contracts or who would represent them. The Independent Union of Auto Industry Workers, known by its initials in Spanish as Sinttia, won an organising vote in February after ousting an old guard union last year.

The Sinttia union said the contract actually increases benefits by 5.3 per cent. Mexico’s inflation rate was running at nearly 7.7 per cent in April, meaning the wage and benefit package combined was above inflation.

The new contract “represents a significant improvement over the labour conditions we had, and an improvement in wages and benefits”, the union said in a statement.

The General Motors logo on its headquarters building. PHOTO: AFP