Mexican workers representing broad sections of their country’s labor force are marching in Mexico City against renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA.
The National Association of Farmers Marketing Companies called on all social sectors to participate, labeling diplomatic sessions held in Washington this week to change the tri-national trade agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States an “undemocratic process.”
Protesters representing the National Union of Workers, the Union of Telephone Operators of the Mexican Republic, the Union of Workers of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National Guild of Education Workers and the Mexican Electricians Union began demonstrations at 10 a.m. local time.
The labor groups are pushing for “a new cooperation and complementarity agreement.”
Demonstrators were seen holding signs bearing the words “The TLC (NAFTA) hurts you, Mexico is better without the TLC” as they marched towards the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Trade union leaders said they have a right to know the terms and conditions of the NAFTA renegotiations, claiming that they are not properly represented by the Confederation of Mexican Workers and the Labor Congress.
Mexican Senator Marcela Guerra Castillo, however, claimed her country will ensure that Mexican workers will be represented in the first round of NAFTA renegotiations.
“Mexican interests and workers’ rights must be put before the benefits of the commercial agreement directly benefit society, above any other interest, whether private or group,” Guerra Castillo said.
NAFTA has frequently been criticized by labor activists for reportedly lowering wages, hurting agriculture profits and eliminating workplace protections across North America.