Information on 1) the Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI); 2) the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE); 3) membership to a government employees union;4) a demonstration held May 1, 1988 by labour unions. [MEX2914]


The PRI has dominated Mexican politics under various names since the end of the 1910s up to the present ["Can he save Mexico?", The New York Times, November 20, 1988, p. 34. See also, Ciaran O. Maol in, Latin American Political Movements (Longman, London, 1985) p. 169. ]. The party structure is quite complex as its membership includes labour union, peasant organizations and civic associations [Maol in... p. 175.]. Throughout the PRI's time in office, there have been accusations of corruption, nepotism, electoral manipulations, nationwide patronage and selective repression [Idem, p.168.]. In all presidential elections prior to the July 1988 election, the PRI has always obtained impressive majorities. The 1988 presidential elections were the most contested elections the PRI has ever faced in its history, as it barely obtained 50.36% of the votes cast. ["Mexico: A New Political Reality?", Current History, December 1988, p.410.] The election results triggered a series of protest which led to detentions and at least "... six were killed in circumstances that have not been clarified." [Amnesty International Report 1989, (Amnesty International Publications, New York, 1985) p.136.]

The Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Education (SNTE), is a union with a national scope [Encyclopedia of the Third World, (Facts On File, Inc. New York: 1987) p. 1356.]. To judge by recent media reports, the leadership still pays allegiance to the governing PRI ["PRI's control of unions challenged", Latin American Regional Reports, May 4, 1989,]. Although there are not exact figures for membership currently available to the IRBDC, in May 1989, it was reported the SNTE was "... the country's largest union..." and one-million strong [Idem, p.6.]. The SNTE has a dissident faction called Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) which had demanded the removal of its president-for-life Senator Carlos Jonguitud Barrios. In mid-February, the SNTE's congress ratified the Senators Jonguitud's leadership. This action prompted the dissident CNTE calling for a strike and demonstrations in early March. In "... Mexico city alone 250,000 teachers marched through the streets to the Zócalo, in front of the presidential palace." [Idem, p. 6.] Although public employees are legally forbidden to strike [Idem. p.6.], the strike went ahead and the dissident CNTE's leadership "... claimed that about 250,000 teachers responded." One of the CNTE's main demands was a wage hike. The strike lasted several weeks. In May 4 and 5, there were "... six massive protest demonstrations [which] crisscrossed Mexico city." ["Parity with teachers sought by others", Latin American Weekly Report, May 18, 1989, p. 5.] These demonstrations were organized by the CNTE and other labour organizations [Idem, p. 5.]. On May 10, the CNTE finally accepted the government offer of 25% wage increase to the teachers ["Pacto is starting to show the strain", Latin American Weekly Review, May 25, 1989. p.5.], and ended the strike in mid May.

In May, media reports indicated that the president of the SNTE had resigned ["Teachers' Union Chief in Mexico Steps Down", The New York Times, April 25, 1989, p. 12.].

As recently as October 18, the CNTE organized a three-day strike demanding a 100% wage hike and compliance with the agreement made in May ["400,000 Mexican teachers start three-day strike", Reuters, October 17, 1989; see also "Mexico teachers strike for 2nd day", Los Angeles Times, October 19, 1989, p. 26.].

According to Trade Union of the World, "There are restrictions on the trade union rights of public servants, notably that: (i) no more than one union is permitted in any state body; and (ii) state employees may not leave the unions to which they belong and their unions may not join organizations of workers and peasants. These limitations have been held by ILO's Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations to be in violation of the Conventions." [F. John Harper (ed), Trade Unions of the World, (Gale Research Co. Detroit: 1987) p.281.]

May 1 is Labour Day (Día del Trabajo) in Mexico [

The Europa World Year Book 1989, Volume III, (Europa Publications Ltd., London: 1989), p. 1771.]. Usually there is a massive demonstration organized by the country's labour confederations to commemorate the day with the participation of thousands of workers and peasants.