Saturday, November 21, 2009

Electricians Take Over Luz y Fuerza Buildings

Ex-Workers from Luz y Fuerza del Centro Tried to Enter the Pachuca Station and Hung Red and Black Banners in the Nuevo Necaxa, Puebla, Hydroelectric Plant

Wire Reports
El Universal

Ex-workers from defunct Luz y Fuerza del Centro power company intensified their actions in simultantaneous protests outside the company's buildings in two states.

In Hidalgo, the protesters created a protest encampment (plantón) outside the Juandho division in the Tetepango municipality, where the majority of the residents are ex-Luz y Fuerza workers. Meanwhile, in Tula and Pachuca, they burned banners, flags, and sticks. The situation remains tense, and they are expected to be forcibly removed.

At about six o'clock Thursday morning, electricians protested in Pachuca, Tula, Tulancingo, and Juandho, where they yelled chants against the federal government and burned flags, sticks, and some banners that announced the shutdown of Luz y Fuerza. In Juandho they closed off access to the buildings with pick-up trucks and cars in order to keep out police. The authorities have announced that the ex-workers could be forcibly removed.

In Pachuca, in the Santa Julia substation, about 100 electricians forced open the substation doors. However, they were only able to advance a few meters into the building because Federal Police were on guard inside with billy clubs. [Translator's note: The Federal Police have occupied Luz y Fuerza since thousands of federal troops first entered the power company's buildings in order to fire all of the workers.]

The electricians, led by the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) secretary Luis Espinoza*, hung red and black strike banners as part of the general strike that has been called for November 11.

Municipal police arrived on the scene, and they remain on alert near the substation. According to Luis Espinosa, the ex-workers will remain at the site indefinitely because he insists that looting has begun in the Luz y Fuerza buildings.

"We don't want them to start blaming us. Equipment such as conductors have been stolen, and we aren't going to allow that to continue," he said.

Meanwhile, in Puebla the electricians hung red and black flags in the Nuevo Necaxa hydroelectric plant, where they will hold an assembly to call for a national general strike that is tentatively scheduled for November 11.

Union organizations that support the SME will participate in the assembly. Miguel Angel Montiel, the SME's Undersecretary of the Exterior for the Necaxa division, said that the electricians will "stop at nothing" to reverse the shutdown of Luz y Fuerza.

Regarding the workers who have picked up their severance package in Huauchinango, Miguel Angel Montiel says he doesn't know how many have accepted the government's offer.

"I wouldn't know how many have begun the paperwork to receive their severance package because we know that the SME has filed over 30,000 individual injunctions against the president's executive order to shut down Luz y Fuerza," he explained.

El Universal correspondent Dinorath Mota and Notimex contributed to this report.

Translator's note:
* This may have been an error in the original Spanish article. SME's secretary general is Martin Esparza. Luis Espinosa (alternatively spelled Espinoza in the press) is a former SME secretary general.

Translated for Narco News by Kristin Bricker


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