Mexico accepts U.S. request for labor investigation of Panasonic

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Panasonic Corporation is pictured during a joint exhibition of advanced technologies at the Makuhari Exhibition Center in Chiba, Japan, on October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s economy ministry said on Monday it had accepted a U.S. request to investigate alleged labor abuses at Panasonic’s (OTC: ) auto parts plant in the northern border city of Reynosa.

The request from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) earlier this month marked the third U.S. labor complaint under a new trade deal aimed at improving workplace conditions in Mexico.

Mexico’s economy ministry said it responded on Thursday and would review the case with the labor ministry to determine whether the 2020 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) violated workers’ rights.

The Mexican union SNITIS, which has requested an investigation, accused Panasonic of signing union contracts behind the backs of workers and fired dozens of workers who protested.

Panasonic North America said it “respects and supports” the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and does not believe those rights have been taken away. The subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate added that it will cooperate with Mexican authorities.

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