MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s labor ministry on Tuesday said it found “serious irregularities” in a union-led vote at the General Motors’ plant in the city of Silao, and ordered the automaker’s union to re-hold a vote within 30 days.
The Mexican ministry’s move followed pressure earlier in the day by U.S. lawmakers on GM to ensure worker rights at the Silao plant, adding to concerns from global labor advocacy groups.
Mexican officials had previously said that some ballots were destroyed during the vote in April, which was intended for workers to ratify their collective contract.
The ratification is required under a Mexican labor reform to ensure workers are not bound to so-called protection contracts, which are signed behind workers’ backs and prioritize company interests.
Such votes are part of the broader effort underpinning promises in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement free trade pact to uphold worker rights.
The ministry said in Tuesday’s statement that the GM vote had “violated principles of safety and certainty that should govern every democratic process.”
GM has denied wrongdoing and said it condemned labor rights violations. The automaker said it had retained a third-party firm to conduct an independent review
“GM condemns violations of labor rights and actions to restrict collective bargaining. We do not believe there was any GM involvement in the alleged violations or that any government-approved inspectors were denied access to the facility, and have retained a third-party firm to conduct an independent and thorough review,” the automaker said in a statement. “The company will cooperate with the U.S. government and the Mexican Labor Ministry and other stakeholders to protect the integrity of the process.”