HR Policy Global

Audi Workers' Strike in Mexico Underlines Importance of Work Stoppage Planning

Workers at a Puebla, Mexico Audi plant voted against a company proposal offering workers a 7% salary increase, prolonging their already week-long strike. The strike has had a substantial impact, given that this facility is North America's only Audi plant and the world's only supplier of the Audi Q5 model.

The big picture: The Big Three auto strike in the U.S. has had a major impact in Mexico providing more confidence for unions in the auto industry as Mexican unions leverage the same tactics.

The bottom line: Despite a 90% decrease in strike authorizations from 2019 to 2023, work stoppages still present a growing challenge for global employers operating in Mexico. Notably, companies in Mexico cannot employ temporary workers to replace striking employees.  

Crucial steps to build a work stoppage strategy:  

  1. Prioritize the safety of workers and the continuity of the business in unforeseen circumstances.  

  2. Clearly outline the responsibilities of the cross-functional management core team, which includes HR, Labor Relations, Legal, Government Affairs, Security, Operations, and Communications.  

  3. Maintain clear and regular communication with employees to prevent confusion and frustration.  

  4. Actively engage with union leadership at regional and national levels to facilitate fair resolution.  

  5. Stay updated on your legal rights and possible actions. Familiarize yourself with the protocols for legal labor disputes and comprehend the actions your company can adopt to help mitigate legal actions. 

What’s next? The union’s demand for a 15.5% wage increase and worries about transitioning to electric vehicle production means the negotiations will continue.

HR Policy Global’s Mexico workshop: Join our Mexico Labor and Union Relations Workshop to explore effective strategies and tools to tackle work stoppages and more.  

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Authors: Wenchao Dong



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