By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
In what constitutes the first formal complaint against Mexico for violations of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Canadian-owned Tridonex auto parts corporation filed a legal protest against the workers union at the company’s Matamoros, Tamaulipas, plant, on Tuesday, May 11.
Tridonex, which is headquartered out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, filed the complaint under the protection of the powerful U.S. trade union organization AFL-CIO, before both the U.S. government and the Global Trade Watch organization, which monitors labor equity relations between countries with commercial relations.
The key issue in the Tridonex dispute is the discrepancy between U.S. and Canadian wages as compared to Mexican wages.
The company’s U.S. workers have complained that their Mexican counterparts are paid less, have fewer benefits and pay less taxes, making the Mexican workforce more competitive.
The U.S. government now has 30 days to evaluate whether the claim has solid basis and support.
If that is determined to be the case, the United States will then proceed to formalize the complaint before the Mexican government, which will be required to review the company’s labor condition, wages, hours and benefits to determine if there are conditions of competitive equity.
This is the first case of a complaint under the USMCA treaty and the two nations will have a maximum period of 55 days to find solutions to the problem.
If a mutually acceptable solution between the commercial authorities, the company and the unions cannot be reached, the appeal will go before an international panel.
Labor issues were one of the most delicate chapters of the trilateral USMCA negotiations, and the United States had originally demanded that all disputes on the matter be addressed by U.S. courts and tribunals.
Canada and Mexico firmly refused, and insisted on ratification by dispute panels.
If the panel determines that labor rights guaranteed by the trinational treaty were denied, it is empowered to impose sanctions, fines or even compensatory tariffs against the company in question.