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150 Mexican oil industry workers get a pink slip the modern way: Via WhatsApp

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The Jap Driller 1 is one of several oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico where hiring outsourced workers has become the norm. Photo: Courtesy

A group of 150 employees working in Mexico’s oil industry say they were fired via a WhatsApp message earlier this week. 

The workers previously employed by Pemex contractors Marinsa and Maren say that the message informed them of their immediate termination and loss of benefits. 

To make matters even worse, several of the workers say they are still owed wages.

“If they don’t want or need me anymore, that’s fine. But the least they could have done was tell me to my face and pay me what they owe,” a former oil rig worker who preferred not to be identified told El Universal.

Analysts have been quick to point out the hypocrisy exhibited by the federal government and state-owned energy giant Pemex when it comes to outsourcing. 

While on one hand, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador continues to make it more difficult and expensive for the private sector to hire outsourced workers, the same can not be said for state companies such as Pemex and the CFE.

Earlier: Gasoline prices continue to soar in Mexico

The fired workers collectively called on Lòpez Obrador for support and said that they were eager to return to work, especially if they could be hired directly by Pemex, as used to be the norm. 

This state of affairs is particularly embarrassing for the president, as many of the recently fired workers had been stationed on the same oil rig he visited in December 2019 to announce an end to sub-contractor malpractices and outsourcing in the oil industry.

Pemex operates 7,500 gas stations across Mexico, making it by far the largest seller of fuel in the country and the only producer. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

This week, despite unwavering support from the federal government, Pemex was named the 9th most indebted company in the world by Moody’s Investors Service. Critics of the company point to systematic corruption and inefficiency as the root causes of Pemex’s economic woes. 

The company recently also made headlines for a recent accident that released an undisclosed amount of gas into the Gulf of Mexico and created an enormous “eye of fire” 150 meters away from one of its oil rigs.

Witnesses aboard the Ku-c platform operated by Pemex described the fire burning in the ocean as resembling “an eye of fire.”

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