Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trade unionists under attack: Urgent appeals for help from Mexico and Zimbabwe

Eric Lee from sent me the following:

Some 1,200 members of Mexico's National Miners' and Metalworkers'Union, or Los Mineros, have been on strike since July 2007 at theCananea mine over health and safety and other contract violations.

Grupo Mexico, the mining giant which operates Cananea, and the Mexican government have continuously tried to end the strike and crush the union.

The police have threatened and jailed union leaders, illegally frozen union bank accounts and failed to investigate or prosecute assassinations of union members.

On February 11, a federal court gave Grupo Mexico permission to fire the striking workers and terminate the labor agreement. The government has threatened to use armed force to gain control of Cananea.

The Los Mineros members at Cananea are resolved to continue occupying the mine until a fair labour agreement is reached. Los Mineros is one of thestrongest and most democratic trade unions in Mexico.

Please take a moment to send off your letter of protest today to:

In Zimbabwe, on 3 November 2009, three armed men forced their way into the home of Gertrude Hambira, the Secretary General of the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union (GAPWUZ).

Gertrude was away at the time of the attack but her husband, her elderly mother and the couple's children were at home. Her husband was awoken by the men, who demanded to know the whereabouts of his wife. He was pinned down by the intruders, and they threatened to shoot him if he called for help.

One of the men fired a single shot into the roof of the house, and they only left when a security alarm was activated. Her husband immediately alerted a neighbour before calling the police.

Gertrude Hambira is now in hiding and fears for her safety. She fled after individuals identifying themselves as officers from the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) raided the union's head office on 24 February 2010, in a search for her.

Five days earlier she had been called to a meeting at Police Headquarters in Harare, where she was interrogated by a panel of seventeen high ranking security officials. During the interrogation the panel stated that Ms. Hambira should be behind bars.

Amnesty International is campaigning to pressure the Zimbabwean government to protect her and to stop intimidating her and other human rights defenders.

Please visit their page and support the campaign at:

Please forward this message on to your fellow trade union members.

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