A conflict with retirees looms over Telmex: “We do not deserve the treatment they are giving us today,” they accuse.

A group of retired workers accuses Mexico phone numbers (Telmex) of having failed since April 2019 with the retirement payment agreements and other benefits to which they are entitled to have worked thirty years and more in that company.

These are retired trusted workers who also report intimidation by the company so that they desist from the legal processes that have already been undertaken against Telmex for all those labor violations.

Manuel Magallanes González is a director at the Magallanes y Asociados law firm, and is also the lawyer who defends these trusted Telmex retirees, whose common representative in trials and one of the most visible faces of this movement is José Paulino Cárdenas Cerda.

The latter, Cárdenas Cerda, says that the company has not tried to reconcile with retired workers. The nonconformists have not claimed anything from the Union of Telephone Operators of the Mexican Republic, but they have not fixed a clear position in the lawsuit between Telmex and trusted retirees.

To date, there are around 800 retired trusted workers who have initiated and continued a legal process against Telmex, although some have given up due to these alleged pressures.

After several broken dialogues, little willingness to meet again between the parties to achieve a solution and dropped payments and benefits, the figure that Telmex It would owe these workers an amount already several million pesos, perhaps more than one hundred million for various concepts including salaries, Christmas bonuses, inflation updates, savings accounts and school support that have not been paid to date.

But the money in debt goes to the background, when these workers report having been intimidated, as noted by various official documents shared in this medium, and for this reason they have sought the Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare, Luisa María Alcalde, so that at once mediated between Telmex and trusted retirees. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was also requested to intervene as an arbitrator.

Although the dialogue between the company and trusted employees is broken, he confesses in this interview with The Economist the lawyer Magallanes, there is a prompt settlement solution with Telmex, before they move forward with their legal resources until they reach the top executives of the company: “pay what is owed, nothing more,” he says.

—What is the origin of this story and why have retired trusted workers been affected?

—The workers, trusted retired colleagues, were receiving their retirement fortnightly, this derived from agreements that were concluded between the company and the Telephone Operators Union. And the retirement clause was extended to trusted workers who were retiring, but in 2014 there was a problem with the annual increase in retirement.

The company then developed a unique pension plan for trusted personnel, where, according to the income received for retirement, it made a difference up to a retirement amount with which it was paid as a percentage or a fixed amount that all employees receive. workers. In 2014, this maneuver affected only trusted workers, because when we made comparisons, it turned out that colleagues were harmed.

This led to a lawsuit in Nuevo León and an agreement was reached in which the company undertook to respect at all times and places the terms in which retirement had previously been agreed with the percentage increase. But the problem reappeared in 2019 that a fixed percentage or amount was applied to them and we were affected again.

At the beginning, what was discussed was that if the increase that was made to salaries, bonuses and other benefits, and that the company agreed with the union, was for a percentage or a fixed amount, it should be extended to retired trusted workers , that is, to the non-unionized.

—After the company learned of these observations from trusted retirees, what position did it take, so that it now faces legal proceedings? And by the way, how many workers are we talking about?

—In the national inventory, there are about 6,000 retirees; of them, approximately 2,800 were the ones we sued; of those, we still have around 800 workers in court. And of all of them, about 300 we sue here, in Nuevo León.

The monthly impact was 1.3 million pesos in April 2019, but in 2020 it increased to about 3.5 million pesos per month and approximately 4.5 million pesos per month in 2021. The average pension per retiree is 40,000 pesos per month, plus the benefits and accessories that are linked. And of all that I have mentioned, 40 Telmex workers have already had their pension suspended, of which 16 are from my group. Of the latter, eight withdrew and eight are still on trial and the authority has already required Telmex to pay or seize assets, in case of not paying them.

The problem that currently exists is that the company decided to threaten the trusted retirees who are suing, with which it will take away their retirement. It has already stopped paying 40 colleagues nationwide and they threaten that they will definitely take their retirement if they do not give up and that is why some have already gone to give up the lawsuit. The company continues to suspend pensions and now with the modality of notifying them at their private homes of the actors, bringing a notary and four people.

—What you tell, how you tell it, sounds serious … Have they had an echo in federal authorities?

—Of course this action has led us to collateral actions. One of them was to request the intervention of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to mediate between us and them, and as arbitrator to propose a solution for trusted retirees and Telmex. But … as the Ministry of Labor did not give an answer, a federal judge ordered him to respond to this request, that there are about 240 workers.

And apart from the Ministry of Labor, a letter was presented for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to intervene, to help us mediate, because we consider it a crime that the company is threatening and taking away retirement.

Another action that we are seeking is for the authority to declare the obligation that Telmex not only respond, but that other América Móvil subsidiaries respond, for example, Grupo Carso, Telcel … That is the judicial scenario that we have up to now.

—I said that at the origin of everything, the negotiations were between the company and the union, with extension to those of trust. That being the case, what does the Telephone Operators Union tell them?

“We don’t feel your backing, we don’t have your backing.” We mean that there is a trust where money is deposited with which the payment of retirements and pensions is guaranteed. Money is withdrawn from this trust to comply with the obligations with the workers. For example, the bonus money had to be taken from that trust, which includes retired and trusted workers.

At some point, if the scenario arises, we consider promoting a lien on that trust to guarantee the retirements of trusted workers. So, we believe and we want it not to happen, it will generate a schism and then the Telephone Operators Union will have, now, to establish a position. We may be at odds with the union, but we don’t want that.

– Are you aware that the Telmex company has been presenting continuous financial losses for more than four years, according to its reports to the Mexican Stock Exchange, and that it is also subject to a forced partition of its wholesale arm, all combined, which complicates its future viability , according to also its managers?

—We know him so well, that is why we propose a solution, even though there is a broken dialogue today. We are here, speaking from this medium, to present a problem, but at the same time proposing a solution. The company’s argument in the lawsuits and before the Telephone Operators Union is that Telmex is at risk of breaching its financial commitments, because the company no longer has the income it had and tells us that it is days away from being insolvent.

What does that tell us? Which leads us to sue América Móvil and other subsidiaries, based on the fact that Telmex says it is days away from being insolvent, but it has been saying that for a long time.

We want there to be truth in the dialogue. Let Telmex convince us why we should accept the increases it proposes and the rules it proposes. We do not want to kill Telmex ourselves, we want to be paid evenly, nothing more.

Is there or is there no way to restore the dialogue with Telmex? What sign would you like to have from them to return to the talks?

—The direct dialogue between the company and the retirees is broken. That is clear and there is no way that we can have a direct meeting without the intervention of the Secretary of Labor or the President, to call the parties to a negotiation.

We advise that we are interested in having a dialogue; We want the company to hold talks with trusted retirees nationwide, not just having to do with the Telephone Operators Union in annual contract reviews. We only want the workers to receive their payments in accordance with the law, because we also made the company stand up and we do not deserve the treatment that Telmex is giving us today.


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