Thousands of Mexican farm workers stage protest over pay
Thousands of Mexican farm workers have taken to the streets in the northwestern part of the country to demand better pay for the hard work of picking fruits and vegetables, which are exported to the United States.
Over 7,000 workers marched in San Quintin, an agricultural town in Baja California state, on Friday. Some of the protesters carried signs reading “enough with exploitation.”
“The pittance they pay us is not enough,” said Rosa, a 55-year-old woman and single mother of three, who earns USD 8.5 per day to pick tomatoes.
The protest rally came ahead of talks between workers’ representatives and government officials trying to resolve the dispute that has lasted more than a month.
The workers began their protests on March 17, and some 300 of them have been detained in clashes with police.
Mexican farm workers protest along a road in San Quintin, Baja California state, on April 24, 2015. (© AFP)
The workers are expected to ask for their daily salary to rise from 120 to 200 pesos (USD 7.7 to 13) in the meeting with the government’s representatives.
“I think we will get the 200 pesos in this meeting. But if there’s no answer, our next step is an international economic boycott” to persuade consumers not to buy the region’s products, Fidel Sanchez, one of the workers’ leaders, told AFP.
The Mexican government says that over two million day laborers work in the North American country, which has a population of more than 118 million people, and that they have near slave-like conditions, without contracts or social benefits.