Mexican telephone union back to work, government to mediate

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — About 30,000 workers at Mexico’s largest landline and internet company agreed to return to work Friday as the government negotiates a dispute over wages, pensions and benefits.

The Labor Department said it would mediate and the union and company would have 20 working days to reach an agreement.

Unionized workers went on strike Thursday at Teléfonos de Mexico, better known as Telmex. It was once a state-owned company that controlled virtually all telephone service in Mexico. But since its privatization in the 1990s, anti-monopoly controls have forced it to cede ground to other mobile phone and internet providers.

Telmex and its subsidiaries were known for their relatively cordial relationship with the National Union of Telephone Workers, which said its strike was the first at the company since 1985.

Telmex said on Thursday that the demands of its unionized employees were not compatible with “the financial viability of the company”.

Unionized employees are demanding a 7.5% wage increase, plus a 2.9% increase in benefits. That would put them just above the current inflation rate of around 8%.

The union said the company had offered increases of 4.4% in wages and 1.1% in benefits.

There were also disagreements over vacancies, salary arrears and pensions.

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