GM agrees to 8.5 percent raise with New Mexico union

MEXICO CITY – General Motors has agreed to an 8.5 percent wage increase with the new independent union at its truck plant in the central Mexican city of Silao, labor representatives said Thursday, one of the highest recent increases in the country’s automotive industry. .

A GM Mexico spokeswoman confirmed the increase in an email to automotive news. The plant makes Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

The agreement with the SINTTIA union also marks the first major increase since the start of a new trade agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which aims to reduce the large wage gap between US and Mexican workers.

“It’s a victory, a step in the right direction,” said Gaspar Rivera Salgado, director of the Center for Mexican Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Whether such increases can be easily duplicated remains to be seen, he added.

Following a vote closely watched by US officials, SINTTIA this year became the first independent union in the history of the GM Silao plant, in an early test of USMCA labor standards.

SINTTIA said that in addition to salaries, the deal includes larger bonuses, a 14 percent increase in supermarket vouchers and a mandatory day off on Christmas Eve.

The new contract also stipulates that GM and the union will form work groups to negotiate work schedules; a protocol for the treatment of cases of sexual harassment; and a program to push back inflation in the coming years.

The contract is valid for two years, although salaries will be subject to review within a year, said Alejandra Morales, secretary general of SINTTIA.

Morales said he hoped workers at other plants would see the news of the raise as a sign of what independent unions can accomplish in a country where many companies sign so-called “protection contracts” without workers’ knowledge.

“Before there were deals only between companies and unions. Today it is possible for us workers to have real negotiations,” said Morales, an employee of GM Silao for almost 12 years.

Workers will vote to approve the deal later this month.

SINTTIA had pushed for increases above inflation, which accelerated to 7.68 percent in April in Mexico. He initially proposed a 19.2 percent increase, which GM responded with a 3.5 percent offer.

The wage agreement appears to surpass others recently reached by independent unions in Mexico’s auto sector.

Nissan agreed this year to raise wages by 6.5 percent, while last year Volkswagen agreed to a 5.5 percent increase. Audi’s contract, according to local media, calls for wage increases of 5.4 percent each year from 2020 to 2022.

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