For the workers of the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA) January was a month of constant mobilizations, they had to leave their daily research activities to try to explain to society why an institution like this should not disappear.
On December 17, 2021, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) confirmed the disappearance of the institute, together with the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC); the justification, “use public resources for clear objectives, avoid duplication of functions and close spaces to corruption”.
Since said declaration, the members of this institute through the Union of Workers of the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (SITIMTA), generated a work agenda to protest, this began with a permanent general assembly on January 7, later the delivery of trades to Morelos deputies was made on January 10, 2022 and a press conference the next day.
On January 17, they called another press conference related to the extinction of the institute in the state of Morelos, in which they announced that there are more than four thousand projects, many of them interdisciplinary, and that they support that the IMTA technically it does not duplicate functions with Conagua, with the Semarnat or another institution. “The Conagua is an operational-administrative instance of the country and the IMTA is the technological arm of the water sector,” they explained.
They recalled that IMTA is a model institution of self-sustainability, since since its decentralization, in 2001, the workers began to generate “own income”, which to date represents practically half of the annual budget it exercises.
For this reason, they called on the competent authorities to reach agreements for the permanence of IMTA as an autonomous center, independent of the With water. Citizens, experts, researchers and associations joined his request, such as the Morelos Pact for Energy and Food Sovereignty and the Defense of the Labor Rights of Workers; the National Coordinator of University, Higher Education, Research and Culture Unions; the National Union of Workers; the New Central of Workers; the National Coordinator of Retirees and Pensioners “Elpidio Domínguez”; public and private educational and research institutions; trade associations in the science, technology and innovation sector, among others.
On January 26, another conference was held in the Morelos State Congress, which was supported and convened by deputy Tania Valentina Rodríguez Ruiz, of the Labor Party, who assured that “there is a risk that IMTA will disappear as an autonomous institution, with very negative consequences for workers and their families,” he added that this union, unlike others, is mostly scientists, teachers, doctors, engineers with a local and national scope of work and of course in important and valuable research on the subject of water.
The next day IMTA workers held a rally and spoke out against the “integration” of the institute into Conagua in the Mexico City main square. From five in the morning they were present to request that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador listen to them, invite him to tour the IMTA and get to know the institution, however, only a representative of Citizen Attention of the Presidency named Fernando Luna, was the one who received the manifesto and petitions.
“The SITIMTA tells Lic. Andrés Manuel López Obrador that we are working to achieve the 4T of Mexico. We urge you to allow the IMTA workers to exercise our right to a hearing, to speak directly to the head of the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources; the head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare; to the Commissions of the Legislative Power (Hydraulic Resources, Potable Water and Sanitation; Environment, Sustainability, Climate Change and Natural Resources; Science, Technology and Innovation, among others) and, especially to you, Mr. President, the achievements in IMTA’s trajectory for the benefit of Society, especially the most vulnerable population”, expressed the Union in a public statement.
They also carried out a blockade in the vicinity of the zócalo and were again supported by representatives of INCA Rural, Sutnotimex, SUTIN, STRM, Conajupe, among others, which allowed the Ministry of Labor to ensure that it would receive a commission.
Already in the secretariat a commission of five investigators was received through Raúl Vergara, director of Institutional Strategy, and Fernando Serrano Monroy, conciliator official, however the response was that as long as there is no action that violates labor rights they cannot act, that is, no legal action could yet be taken.
Later they went to Semarnat and held a rally; A group of four workers also held a meeting to expose their problems, however no action routes were defined by the authorities.
By these dates, the IMTA workers were waiting for responses to their requests and for the government to have given up, with all the information provided, on disappearing the institution; but nevertheless,
They close the month again with a demonstration in the center of Cuernavaca Morelos, where they joined the so-called National Day of Unitary Struggle, where various unions have demonstrated.
“We do not want more incidents in the substantive activities of our institutions, we are unions and organizations that are not allies of the corrupt, we are workers who try to do our job with the tools that our institutions give us and that we do it in the best way ”, expresses the union.