Production halts and industrial action in Mexico amid COVID-19 pandemic

Since early March, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted manufacturing operations throughout Mexico, primarily in northern states that border the United States.

On March 30, the Mexican General Health Council declared a national state of sanitary emergency in response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the country. The pandemic has severely impacted manufacturing operations in Mexico, particularly in northern states which border the United States. Federal and state governments are assessing maquiladoras to determine which fall under the “essential activities” category outlined in the federally mandated Administrative Ruling and Technical Guidelines. The vague language in the Administrative Ruling has left manufacturers across Mexico unsure if they fall under the “essential activity” category, making it difficult to determine if they should ultimately close their plants. By the end of April, hundreds of major electronics, aerospace, telecommunications, and automotive manufacturers across northern Mexico have been forced to close. Those which remain open are facing industry-wide protests as thousands of workers demand factory closures over fears of infection, especially following the deaths of several maquiladora workers due to the virus. Industry-wide strikes have taken place at plants in the cities of Mexicali, Ciudad Juárez, Matamoros, Nogales, Gómez Palacio (Durango), Tijuana, and Reynosa. The industries that have felt the greatest impact of the protests include the automotive, aerospace, and electronics manufacturing.

This report explores the effects of the COVID-19 restrictions on production activities in Mexico, and what companies can do mitigate the impact of the closures and unrest.

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