Coronavirus: The laid-off mexicans by the crisis: “I I am not afraid of the coronavirus, I am afraid of hunger” | Economy

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Daniel Martinez did not expect to be fired. Took his book to the principal’s office, where he was called on the 31st of march. Thought that would be allocated more work, maybe a new development such as overseeing the four years that he worked in the mexican real estate Be Grand. Everything changed when he saw the check of your quittance on the desktop. His boss notified him that the company could not cover their salary due to the health crisis caused by the coronavirus. “Their justification was that the sales were low, that did not have a good income and with the virus to less sales they were going to have,” he said.

The company treated this dismissal as a resignation, that exempted to cover a payout according to a monthly salary of about 25,000 pesos (1.050) dollars. The architect, of 33 years, he chose to accept the settlement to start a fight endless to the labour courts. Like him, some 60 workers Be Grand —managers, coordinators and administrative staff— were laid off under the euphemism of a “voluntary resignation”.

A few hours before the dismissal of Martinez, the Government of Mexico had already declared the health emergency and the suspension of non-essential activities until 30 April. Faced with the risk that the measures cause a cataract of layoffs, the Executive appealed to the “solidarity” of the entrepreneurs. “It is a month of leave with pay, a month, you can help that way. I am sure that the majority of entrepreneurs will help us,” said the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the end of march.

The reality has begun to show the Government that an invitation is not enough. There’s No safety net that allows companies to protect jobs. The infections are on the rise — the country sum 233 deaths and 3.844 positive cases— and so do the numbers of unemployed. From large corporate listed on the Stock exchange to small and medium-sized companies have decided to reduce their payrolls to cope with the blow of economic caused by the Covid-19. The Administration of López Obrador acknowledged this week that we have lost more than 346.800 jobs in the last 15 days. The figure represents the destruction of the work created throughout 2019. The statistics that warn of a rate of unemployment of 5% and a fall of four percentage points of GDP by the crisis begin to have names and surnames.

The petition of López Obrador, the entrepreneurs had no effect even among his intimates. It is the case of Daniel Chavez Moran, a member of the Advisory Council Business of the mexican president and owner of 16 hotels spread across the main tourist sights. Two of the companies of its group, Vidanta, appeared this week in the list of dismissals filed by the Government, with a cut of more than 5,000 positions among its hotels in Quintana Roo, and Nayarit.

“The president will lack to learn a little more of what goes on inside of these companies, you are not watching what the people are suffering”, says Gloria Ramirez, one of the fired workers of the group of Chávez Morán. Ramirez migrated from Chiapas by lack of employment. He spent the last six years working as a maid at the hotel Grand Luxxe in Nuevo Vallarta (Nayarit). On the 27th of February, arrived at the hotel, where she was greeted by a queue of hundreds of laid-off they were waiting for their settlements. “We were forced to sign a paper, they gave us not a copy and if not firmábamos, they were not paying us what we are owed,” he says.

Ramirez did not remember to have seen layoffs as massive. “They threw almost all, the greater part of them are construction workers, were only a few executives,” he explains. The precariousness of contracts, which are usually monthly or quarterly, prevented him to build seniority, so that was deprived of compensation. To the hours of signing the settlement, the company deposited what I owed for that fortnight, around 2,000 pesos, $ 85, that he only reached for the bills and food a month. “It is hopeless. I I am not afraid of the coronavirus, I am afraid of hunger”.

Tourism has been one of the activities hardest hit. The State of Quintana Roo, with your Riviera Maya, is that more layoffs registered: 63.800 people lost their jobs. The bricklayer Francisco Muro was one of them. Worked on the construction of a hotel in Tulum about a month ago, when the company halted the work. “Hundreds of my companions stayed in the street,” he says. The company, whose name you do not want to give, behaved “very badly” with the workers and in some cases even paid them what I owed them. After the close of the work, Alcudia returned to Cancun, the city where he was born, to about 130 kilometers. “I now work independently, painter, mason… Although it is difficult,” he admits.

Mexico city, the entity that most cases of coronavirus recorded in the country, it is another point affected. The company crafts Fantasies Miguel cut at least 100 people in the capital in the last weeks of march. The order of send you home to “rest” their workers by the coronavirus was the preamble to the layoffs. “Teach you a letter, to which they do not let you take a photo or give you a copy, but it tells you that it is by the situation of the pandemic. They made us sign the waiver. Not all signed, only 20% of those affected”, says one of the teachers fired, who prefers not to disclose his name for fear of reprisals. His salary was 10,000 pesos (421 dollars) per month.

She agreed to sign his resignation, thinking that was best for their family. “My husband has a secure job and I don’t know how to come what of the vaunted phase three (pandemic). I have two girls and needed the money immediately because I live in the uncertainty, what worries me is what are we going to eat”, he says. The sign, left to go to the settlement for nearly six years worked. His despair and anger still looming in his voice when remembering the 25 of march, when she was fired. “I feel quite disappointed, I feel that the company I was on duty a lot,” he laments.

Aaron Quiroz, 28 years old, just received a call from their advertising company on the first day of April. By telephone, the managers of the company’s Eleven Eleven make a Wish told that they could not pay the last half of march and not to speak of a settlement. Quiroz was one of the 150,000 laid off in the first few days of this month. The audiovisual producer regrets that the workers get caught between the pulses, which have the Government and entrepreneurs to the contingency. “You hear very nice for the Government to ask it not to get fired, but the truth is that they are not going to do. It is easier to fire people to save money,” he concludes.

Those affected share the feeling of helplessness in the face of the many irregularities that have lost their jobs. They know that they were forced to resign on full contingency of health care, but prefer not to fight a battle in the courts, which for them will be costly, demanding and very difficult to win. According to the most recent reports of worker justice in Mexico, the boards of conciliation are exceeded, and a case of this type would take at least four years to be resolved.

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