Mexico: Community activist & leader in campaign to unionise Torex Gold Resources goes missing, feared dead

Oscar Hernández Romero, a community leader, has been missing since September 23 and is feared dead. Hernández, from Cócula, Guerrero, was a leader in the campaign to unionize the Canadian mining company Torex Gold Resources, which set up shop in 2017. He was active in calling attention to environmental and labor violations by the company, recently traveling to Mexico City to discuss it with government officials.  The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre contacted Torex Gold Resources, the response can be found below.

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Company response
29 October 2019

Torex Gold Resources response

Author: Torex Gold Resources

...Torex Gold knows nothing about the disappearance of Oscar Hernandez. That said, we don’t expect that such a statement from us would change the mind of anyone that believes otherwise.

At Torex we are very proud of what we have built and operate in a rather complex social environment in Guerrero State of Mexico. We have a productive relationship with the union and equally productive relationships with employees. We are particularly proud of the commitment our employees have made to working safely and protecting the environment. They are delivering top tier performance in those areas, as well as top tier performance in producing gold. They are a team that works very well together.

We strive to create a workplace experience that results in ‘everyone willingly giving their best’. That approach includes excellent pay, health care benefits, profit sharing, etc., but more importantly we create a workplace environment that employees want to be a part of and are proud to be a part of. Our employee turnover rate is about half of the average for the Mexican mining industry, and most that leave only do so to take a job that is closer to home and their families... 

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Item
11 October 2019

Missing Union Activist in Mexico Threatens NAFTA Sign-Off

Author: Prospect

…Oscar Hernández Romero, a community leader, has been missing since September 23 and is feared dead. The local government in Guerrero, one of the poorest and most dangerous states in Mexico, has made no attempt to investigate the disappearance, and neither has the federal government. The case has gotten almost no coverage in the United States, although the Mexican press has discussed it.

Hernández, from Cócula, Guerrero, was a leader in the campaign to unionize the Canadian mining company Torex Gold Resources, which set up shop in 2017. He was active in calling attention to environmental and labor violations by the company, recently traveling to Mexico City to discuss it with government officials…

The Hernández disappearance shows the real challenges to improving the experience for Mexican workers on the ground. Trump, no friend to workers in the United States, professes that he wants to improve worker’s fortunes in Mexico as a way of diminishing  U.S. corporate flight there—particularly in manufacturing. But it’s an open question whether Mexico can deliver on its promises, which has House Democrats wary of any deal without teeth…

 

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