Members from the Union of Oil Workers (STPRM), which represents Pemex employees, reportedly marched on November 3 through the streets of the northeastern city of Tampico, in the state of Tamaulipas, denouncing electoral fraud in the recent STPRM local chapters elections held in three stages during the second half of October. The protesters reportedly presented themselves as opponents of Carlos Romero Deschamps, STPRM’s Secretary-General in office since 1993. Alleging voter intimidation and mishandlings of the ballot boxes, the protesters called to annul the recent elections and schedule new ones in January 2019 under the supervision of human rights organizations and the International Labor Organization.
It is not the first time that STPRM workers demand transparency in the union. Dissidents have been denouncing alleged corruption schemes and political interference inside the union since Deschamps took office as its Secretary-General. Although Deschamps formal term as head of the STPRM ends in 2024, some dissidents sought to use electoral victories in local chapters to undermine Descamps’ influence, expecting to bring about his resignation. Although the final results on a nationwide level have not been published, at least 11 of the 36 have elected candidates aligned with Deschamps. If the current electoral trend remains favorable to Deschamps’ interests, dissident workers could potentially to resort to industrial action to demand reforms in the union. These measures are more likely to materialize after December, following the investiture of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who has pledged to end perceived corruption in the oil sector. Many dissident workers in STPRM are supportive of AMLO, and are likely expecting political backing once the incoming president takes office. Meanwhile, STPRM’s Secretary-General Deschamps is not likely to concede to any of the dissidents’ claims regarding electoral fraud.