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Telecom unions around the world tell Atento Mexico to let workers form their own union

(PresseBox) (Mexico City, ) .
- Over 150 Telecom and IT union leaders in Mexico join 1000 Atento workers and trade unionists in support of freedom of association
- UNI Global Union supports Atento Mexico workers who want to join the STRM
- UNI tells parent company Telefonica to end interference in union election at Atento Mexico

Leaders from telecommunications and information technology unions around the world held a demonstration in Mexico this afternoon in support of Atento call center workers who are fighting to form an independent, democratic union.

The 158 leaders from 38 countries who are in Mexico for the inaugural UNI ICTS conference marched in support of the thousands of Atento workers who are fighting for fair elections to elect the independent Mexican telecom union Sindicato de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana (STRM) as their representative. Currently Atento has a "protection union" that represents the management's interests and not the workers'.

"We are out on the streets of Mexico City today to show our solidarity and demand that a new date is set for workers to vote freely and fairly without any intimidation from the company or the company union," said Head of UNI ICTS Marcus Courtney. "For more than 2.5 years, Atento workers have been demanding a fair election so that they can pick their own union that represents their interests, not those of the company."

The workers at Atento have been organising for more than 2.5 years for a free and independent union with STRM. The workers opportunity to vote for the STRM as their bargaining representative and throw out the protection union was denied when company managers threatened STRM supporters and produced a fraudulent voting list on election day, making a free and fair election impossible. The election has been ruled invalid because of the anti-democratic actions by Atento management.

Last week in Mexico, Atento workers held a demonstration outside the Mexico City Labour Board, demanding a date be set for a new election.

"We welcome the global support from UNI Telecom and unions around the world in our fight for fair union elections at Atento Mexico," said STRM General Secretary Francisco Hernandez Juarez. "The company knows that the whole world is watching and its reputation is on the line."

As Atento workers demand a new election, UNI Telecom, the global union for telecommunications workers that represents 2 million workers around the world is supporting that fight.

"We are here in Mexico City to stand in solidarity with the Atento workers," said President of UNI Telecom Bo Larsen. "Freedom to join the union of your choice is a basic human right and we will do whatever we can to ensure that Atento Mexico workers are able to exercise their free choice in a fair union election.

UNI has put the demand to Atento's Spanish parent company Telefonica to remain neutral and stop actively supporting the protection contract and let the workers freely chose their union. Telefonica has signed a global agreement with UNI to protect trade union and workers' rights at all its locations around the world.