Workers at more than 15 Walmart locations (including Superama, Sam’s Club and Bodega Aurrera stores) in not only the Cancun area, but all of Quintana Roo have gone on strike. Monday around 1 p.m. the workers arrived at the Walmart Centro Cancun location, and stood in front of the store with picket signs that spelled out their demands. The main issue that the workers seem to have is that they had been promised bonus payments at the end of last year. Two months, and change into the year the bonus payments have not come through.
One of the signs that a disgruntled worker carried to the protest read, “free food for workers”. That’s another one of the demands that the union workers are looking to have met by the store. Local union leaders indicate that these hardships aren’t just faced by the local workers in Cancun. All Walmart workers across Mexico face some of the same challenges according to them.
The Current Situation At Local Walmart Stores
At the time of writing for this article Walmart stores in the Cancun area were still fully operational. Some locations may be notoriously understaffed, though. As a customer you may also have to walk past the folks on strike to be able to head into the store. At this point though, there have been no major incidents reported of any altercations between the people on strike, and customers or store management.
José Poot Che the union leader from the “Confederación Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesinos” who is supporting the workers gave Walmart stores in Cancun an ultimatum. If both sides couldn’t come to an agreement by Tuesday the union workers would move in to try and close off all of the Walmart stores in the Cancun area. Naturally, a move by the workers to try and close the stores could lead to violent encounters between them and store staff. With unsuspecting customers who are getting ready to do their weekly grocery caught in the middle!
The Demands That The Union Workers Are Putting Forward
As was mentioned the driving force behind this strike seems to be the lack of a bonus payment that was promised to employees late last year. The bonus payment was set to consist of 3 months of the employee’s regular salary. Without question this was probably money that Walmart workers were very much looking forward to!
Since going on strike though, the workers have put forth a couple more demands. Not just the payment of the previously promised bonuses. Union leader José Poot Che laid out the demands of the workers besides the bonus payments saying,
“The demands that we want fulfilled for the workers are: food vouchers, a savings fund, and to have the company provide free meals for employees.”
The signs that some of the workers posted outside the stores also featured a couple more demands by the workers. One sign read, “fair treatment for all, no more threats”. It’s unclear what the employees are potentially being threatened about. Another sign asked for monetary help to get on public transport. Plenty of employees have to use public transport to get to work. Particularly those who live on the outskirts or the rural areas around Cancun. Apparently the stores don’t provide any help for employees’ mobility.
Will The Movement Gain Enough Momentum To Close Local Walmart Stores?
It’s estimated that around 2 thousand local employees attended the strikes in different Cancun Walmart stores. The union leader that is effectively leading the charge mentioned that they would seek to close off local stores, and take the strike to all statewide stores if the demands were not met. Then going as far as to say the strike could go national. At this point it seems that the ball is in Walmart’s court. Will they want to call his bluff? That remains to be seen!
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