Workers from Petróleos Mexicanos. Photo: Pemex

By KELIN DILLON

Workers from Mexico’s Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) oil business have alleged that company unions forced them to injure and mutilate themselves in order for the union to collect insurance money, reports a story from the daily Mexican newspaper El Universal.

The union purportedly manipulated the employees to cause an accident within the Pemex facilities “because another worker is going to arrive to take your position and we have to collect the insurance. These are orders of the ‘boss’.”

Workers, afraid of losing their jobs and their only source of income to provide for their families, reportedly did as asked, only to see “nothing” of the insurance money collected by the organization.

One employee recounted working on Christmas with threats of being replaced, when a union higher-up supposedly took his hand and forced it into a drilling machine, destroying part of his finger, which was then completely amputated in the hospital despite it having the chance of being saved, all so the union could collect his insurance money.

“That changed my life forever,” said the Pemex worker, who supplied photos of his missing finger alongside his story.

The Pemex laborers, of which four came forward with their story to El Universal, alleged that the “boss” who gave the orders at the top was, without hesitation, Carlos Romero Deschamps, the former leader of the union who was previously expelled from his role due to corruption, but purportedly still pulls the strings.

“They are leaders who have reached the point of forcing us to mutilate or injure ourselves inside the facilities to collect insurance,” said the employees.

The workers likewise alleged that, when not working on their contacted jobs at the Pemex facilities, they were required “to sweep the patio of the houses of our leaders, wash their cars and those of their children, carry the wife’s groceries, take care of their children, work as bricklayers to build their houses, and even to take gasoline to their homes.”

All unionized and temporary workers are also reportedly charged 500 to 700 pesos every time they go up on platforms to work, allegedly going straight into the pockets of those at the top of the union hierarchy, exploiting the laborers for simply doing their jobs.

The corruption in the union apparently goes so high that even the Pemex Board of Directors is aware of the maltreatment of its employees, but takes advantage themselves, allegedly making an agreement with the union to increase the retirement age of employees, as long as the top dogs of the union continued to receive full benefits.

The Board of Directors likewise reportedly witnessed workers transporting jugs of gasoline into one of the union leader’s ranches at a meeting between the board and the union back in September 2020, which, if true, throws all their plausible deniability of the mistreatment out the window.

 

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