July 22, 2022
Telmex, the Mexican operator controlled by Carlos Slim's America Movil, has become the latest telco to face industrial action as unions and employees become increasingly disgruntled over pay and conditions in an era of rising inflation.
Indeed, strikes among telecoms workers are a growing trend. For example, Moody's latest telecom sector report for Europe found that operators across the continent face labor difficulties, with strikes likely as the rising rate of inflation fuels demands for higher wages.
In the UK too, BT staff are set to go on strike over pay in the first nationwide action since the telco was privatized in the 1980s. In the US, AT&T has been in negotiations with progressively tetchy unions and staff.
Figure 1: Rising inflation is driving demand for higher wages at telcos.
(Source: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo)
Over in Mexico, Reuters reports that "dozens of Telmex's 60,000 union workers" gathered outside the main Telmex office in Mexico City after leaving their posts for the strike, the first since 1985.
It seems that negotiations broke down over violations of a collective bargaining agreement, including outsourcing work, the exclusion of union members from new Telmex projects, and a lack of investment. The Mexican Telephone Workers Union, or STRM, also said the company has yet to fill nearly 2,000 vacancies that were previously negotiated and wants to change contractual benefits for new hires.
Bloomberg noted that the union is asking for a 7.5% wage increase after inflation in Mexico hit a 21-year high of 7.99% in June.
Negotiations are ongoing, meanwhile. Labor minister Luisa Alcalde tweeted that progress is being made and indicated that an agreement could be reached on Friday.
Se avanza en el proceso de solución al conflicto de Telmex entre la Empresa y el Sindicato.— Luisa Alcalde (@LuisaAlcalde) July 22, 2022
Esperamos que mañana, atendiendo a los mecanismos democráticos del propio Sindicato de Telefonistas, se logre llegar a un acuerdo.
In a statement on Thursday, Telmex said it had not been possible to reach an agreement that was financially viable for the telco, although it confirmed that it is continuing negotiations with the union to reach an agreement.
The operator also assured customers that its telecoms services will be unaffected by the industrial action.
— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading
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