The social movement at the US automaker has laid off 6,000 Mexican workers.
Mexican employees of General Motors (GM) hold their breath. Friday, October 11, more than 6,000 of them began their eleventh day of technical unemployment, victims of the strike conducted for nearly four weeks in US factories of the auto giant. The domino effect is shaking this key sector of the Mexican economy as the end of relocations is one of the main demands of strikers north of the border.
"There is no dismissal", repeats the direction of GM Mexico, constrained, since the 1st October, to lay off workers at its factory located in Silao in the state of Guanajuato, in central-western Mexico. That day, one of his spokesmen explained to the press "That production has been interrupted because of the lack of spare parts", provoked by the strike that mobilizes, since 16 September in the United States, 46,000 GM employees affiliated to the United Auto Workers (UAW), the US auto union. Silao's employees were given compulsory vacations and a 45% pay cut.
Since October 7, another 415 workers have been laid off at a second site in Ramos Arizpe in northeastern Coahuila. In total, one-third of GM's 19,000 employees in Mexico are affected, altering the production of Silverado and other GMC Sierra pickups. The management of GM Mexico ensures that its two other factories in the cities of San Luis Potosi (center) and Toluca (center) are functioning normally as well as its regional design center located in Mexico City.
"A skilled and cheap workforce"
"These other Mexican sites could be quickly affected in turn if the negotiations continue to trample in the United States, increasing supply problems," warns Braulio Garcia, economist at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi. In this city, GM produces its Chevrolet Trax and Aveo.
In addition to the UAW's wage hikes to the Detroit giant, the union is demanding the reactivation of four US plants shut down in the past year due to offshoring of production in Mexico. The country produces 830,000 vehicles annually for GM, representing 22% of its vehicles sold in the United States. For the moment, the management camps on its positions.
"GM, like Ford, Nissan or Volkswagen, enjoys the benefits of Mexico, explains Garcia. A skilled and cheap workforce, with wages four to five times lower than in the United States. Not to mention the geographical proximity that allows to deliver a car on the American market in one or two days against two weeks by boat from China. "