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Mexico's Supreme Court Slams Wal-Mart's Labor Practices

Friday, 05 Sep 2008 02:26 PM

Mexico's Supreme Court compared the practices of U.S. retail giant Walmart in Mexico to employer-worker relations during the dictatorship of former president Porfirio Diaz.

Diaz served as president and absolute ruler of Mexico from 1877-80 and from 1884-1911.

Mexico's top court on Thursday backed a Walmart employee who had complained that vouchers handed out by the company as part of its salary payments could only be spent in the company's stores.

The practice of vouchers "that come from the worker's salary only to be exchanged in the management company's establishment is similar to what happened in old company stores (that existed during Diaz's dictatorship)," the court said in its decision.

The only difference was that under Diaz's system, workers had to pay a high price for the products they bought with their vouchers, the court added.

But, in both cases, "the cost of the respective discounts were absorbed by workers, not bosses," the court said.

The company stores under Diaz's dictatorship were abolished under the 1917 constitution.

Mexican non-governmental organizations last November called for a boycott of Walmart to protest low salaries and working conditions of its employees.

Walmart is the largest private employer in Mexico, with 157,000 employees, according to Mexican media.

© 2008 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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Mexico's Supreme Court compared the practices of U.S. retail giant Walmart in Mexico to employer-worker relations during the dictatorship of former president Porfirio Diaz.Diaz served as president and absolute ruler of Mexico from 1877-80 and from 1884-1911.Mexico's top...
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