Comité Fronterizo
de Obrer@s

CFO

For the labor rights and all human rights of the maquiladora workers

 
   
   
   
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A few facts about the maquiladora industry

CFOmaquiladoras.org

The following information was elaborated based on statistics obtained from INEGI (National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Data Processing - Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática ). INEGI publishes its statistics on the last day of each month and the statistics are from 60 days prior to the publication date. It is understood that this is the time that the INEGI requires to compile the information originating from a monthly survey that each maquiladora is required to fill out for INEGI. The information from the most recent months is preliminary and is frequently adjusted subsequently by INEGI.

Statistics from the month of: December 2006

Published: February 27, 2007

There are two different ways to access the maquiladora industry statistics on the INEGI website. The most direct way is: http://dgcnesyp.inegi.gob.mx/cgi-win/bdieintsi.exe/NIVJ150002000300050005#ARBOL?c=1414

The following link also allows the return to the homepage of the INEGI: http://www.inegi.gob.mx/est/contenidos/espanol/rutinas/ept.asp?t=emp75&c=1811

TWO TOTALS

The total of the maquiladora companies in the country at the end of December 2006 was 2,783. These companies employ 1,170,962 people, of which 51% are men and 49% are women. In fact, in Mexico, there are more men than women that work in the maquiladoras.

WOMEN IN THE MAQUILADORAS MORE AFFECTED THAN MEN

However, more women than men are doing the hardest work. Of the total of line workers, 54.6% are women and 45.4% are men. Men enjoy the advantage of being 74% of the production technicians and 65% of the administrative staff. In other words, a little more than 5 out of every 10 persons working on the production lines are women; however, there is only one woman for every 4 technicians, and one for every 3 administrative employees. Women represent less than one third of all of the technical and administrative employees .

This imbalance is amplified when we look at the numbers of line workers. These workers represent 912,047 or 78% of the total workforce . Technicians represent 13% and administrative staff, 8% .

The loss of maquiladora jobs for women workers has been very constant. In January 1990, the date of the first available statistics, women represented 60.7% of the total of workers. In December 2006, they are only 54.6%, or 6 percentage points less in a lapse of 16 years.

 

Date
All employees total
Women
%
Men
%
Line workers total
Women
%
Men
%
First data available
January 1990
424,652
n/d
n/d
341,879
207,541
60.7
134,338
39.3
Beginning of NAFTA
January 1, 1994
546,588
n/d
n/d
444,905
265,764
59.7
179,141
40.3
First gender data breakdown

January 1997

822,036
436,303
53.1
385,733
46.9
669,820
386,130
57.6
283,690
42.4
Jobs peak
October 2000
1,347,803
685,256
50.8
662,547
49.2
1,093,278
604,263
55.3
489,015
44.7
Latest data available
December 2006
1,170,962
574,718
49.1
596,244
50.9
912,047
498,010
54.6
414,037
45.4

Despite women being 57.5% of line workers in the textile maquiladoras, they nonetheless have steadily lost ground to men in the same maquiladoras.

 
Date

All employees total

Women
%
Men
%
Line workers total
Women
%
Men
%
Jobs peak in the textile maquiladora industry

July 2000

294,855
n/d
n/d
250,951
153,614
61.2
97,337
38.8
Latest data available

December 2006

158,286
n/d
n/d
132,519
76,205
57.5
56,314
42.5

THE NORTHERN BORDER

Three quarters of all of the employees (77%) , of all the workers (77%) and of all of the maquiladoras (74%) can be found in the five Mexican border States: Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora and Baja California. The northern border is still the premier location for the maquiladora industry with its 2,062 maquiladoras and 905,097people.

The INEGI statistics allow us to note that women workers in the border States represent 53.4% of the total of workers in the region. This is one percentage point less than the participation of women at the national level. One reason of this fact is the predominance in the norther border of maquiladora jobs in the auto industry and other companies of heavy manufacturing which employ more men than women.

Chihuahua holds the first position in number of people employed in maquiladoras with 303,388 (26% of the national total), although it can only count on less than half the number of maquiladoras that Baja California has. This is due to the fact that a maquiladora factory can have between 5 and 3,000 people, to mention but two numbers. Baja California has 20.4% of the national total, Tamaulipas, 15.6%, Coahuila, 8% and Sonora, 7.3%.

LOSSES AND RECOVERY OF JOBS IN THE MAQUILADORAS

In June 2001, Mexico reached its peak in number of maquiladora factories: 3,735. Nevertheless, eight months before, in October 2000, there began a process of closing of maquiladoras and slowdown of production (that by the way was anticipated by a couple of months by the beginning of a slowdown of the U.S. economy). Also, in October 2000, maquiladora jobs reached an all-time high: 1,347,803. From this date began a decline which reached its lowest point in July 2003, when there were only 1,045,598 jobs. The total loss was 302,205 jobs (22%). In the 41 months since July 2003, the industry has recuperated in general 125,364 jobs .

MAQUILADORAS DURING NAFTA

Despite the jobs losses from 2001 to 2003, the net growth of the workforce in the maquiladoras since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect on January 1st., 1994 up to September 2006 is of 624,374 jobs, or 114% with respect to the 546,588 jobs from January 1st, 1994. This increase was of course much higher during the apex of 2002: 147%. The point here is not that those who support NAFTA could at one moment say that the number of jobs in the maquiladoras tripled, and can now only say that they doubled. For the workers, the most important thing is the quality of the jobs in the maquiladora industry. On top of being badly paid, those jobs are vulnerable and dependent on the U.S. economy and corporations, and that fact make them very unstable.

Something similar occurred with respect to the number of factories. On January 1st, 1994, there were 2,143 maquiladoras. From this date to June 2001, 1,620 other maquiladoras were established; however many of them, 931, disappeared. If we compare the number from December 2006 with the 2,143, the result is a gain of 640 maquiladoras during the 12 and half years of NAFTA. However, the problem remains the same, the unstableness, the overexploitation and the abuses that occur in these factories. For that reason, Julia Quiñonez, of the CFO, has previously referred to the maquiladoras as a "mirage".

TIJUANA AND CIUDAD JUÁREZ

Tijuana, still the city with the most maquiladoras, had 820 maquiladoras in February 2001. Today, it has 568, although it fell to 545 in August 2003.

Ciudad Juárez, on the other hand, reached its maximum number of workers at the same time as the national peak in October 2000. That month, it reached 264,241 workers. In December 2006, the number is 236,293. Ciudad Juárez would have to regain 27,948 jobs to return to its peak level.

REYNOSA: THE CHINA OF THE BORDER

In an opposite direction to the slowdown of the U.S. economy, one Mexican border city with Texas not only did not lose any jobs, but has actually continued to gain them. Reynosa is a sort of China of the border. In fact, never has it had as many jobs as in July 2006 with almost 100,000. In December 2006, Reynosa has 96,105 employees in 136 maquiladoras.

Ciudad Acuña was following in the same footsteps as Reynosa with a sustained increase of jobs until November 2002, when it reached 37,683 jobs. Since that date, Ciudad Acuña has lost 7,813 jobs. In December 2006, it had 29,870 jobs.

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