By KELIN DILLON
New reports from the controversial construction of Mexico’s new airport, which is newly under jurisdiction of the nation’s military, say workers on the project are allegedly being charged some 20 to 30 percent of their salaries to continue working there by their military superiors.
The workers, many of whom come from the cancelled New Mexico International Airport (NAIM) project, also claim they are being paid less for their efforts and likewise now have many more middlemen involved in their work.
According to anonymous workers, master masons can expect to be paid no higher than 2,700 pesos per month with the Army taking 1,000 of that sum, while an assistant mason will only take in 1,700 pesos a month. Those with professional degrees could earn up to 12,000 per month, but are purportedly burdened with hours of extra work outside of their area of expertise.
The military reportedly does not document its workers and pays them in cash without receipt; however, it has managed to require for each and every laborer to sign a confidentiality contract about the project.
With pressure from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) to inaugurate the airport in 2022, many laborers are forced to perform their jobs at a rapid pace, resulting in more than 59 workplace accidents and seven reported deaths.
The Secretariat of Defense (Sedena) has not responded to workers’ claims of negligence and extortion at the worksite, but on Wednesday, Sept. 7, AMLO emphatically denied the media reports during his daily press conference without offering any evidence to back up his claims.