Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock

International Workers’ Day – Really getting into the job

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Shoveling the sand back onto the beach

 It is not all sun, sand and cerveza in Mexico; there are long days of hard work for most Mexicans. 

May 1st is celebrated in many countries as International Workers’ Day, commemorating the establishment, in 1886, of a legislated eight-hour work week.  

However working hours in Mexico are not tightly regulated by laws, there are always ways to get around the official rules.  Most office job hours run from 8am to 6pm, although working hours often go until 7pm or later.   Tourism-related jobs by necessity include weekends, public holidays and frequently shifts for 24-hour staffing.

Fallen down a rabbit hole

 The islanders that we know are such hard working folks.  Recently we noticed a CFE worker was head first into a deep hole; he was really getting into his job.  The concrete power pole next to our house was in danger of toppling, due to a weakened centre of decomposing and rusted rebar.  

The electrical company employees were assigned to replace the pole but the worker needed to clear out a bit of rubble before it would sit properly.  From our upper balcony perch the visual perspective was humorous; a bit like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland when Alice fell through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world.  Fortunately he didn’t fall through the hole into a nightmare, he stayed firmly on the ground.

Wet policeman directing traffic
While the electrical workers battled with the pole a lonely policemen looked a bit forlorn with his thin yellow slicker rain-plastered to his body.  

During an intermittent torrential downpour, he directed traffic around the electrical workers’ equipment.  

The policeman stood guard on the roadway for several hours while the crane removed the old pole, and settled the new pole.  

Restoring power 
Then there was the transferring over of wires, and the restoration of electricity, all during the rainstorm.

 On the other end of the weather situation searing hot days, and swelteringly humid afternoons can make for difficult conditions especially for outside workers.  

We have lost count of the number of bottles of water, pop, and juice that we have handed out to labourers in and around our neighbourhood.  

New grouting for pool – hot hot day!

The thirsty street-sweepers, garbage collectors, mosquito control folks, and traffic police all get complimentary cool drinks when working nearby our casa.  It’s a small thank you for a tough job.

 Construction workers go about their daily jobs with little or no safety equipment.  Hard hats and safety boots are a rarity on most work sites.  The maintenance and repairmen work long hours in high temperatures, fixing and repairing houses and pools.  It’s not so much that the work is hard, it’s a combination of long hours in the heat without much regard to safety that takes its toll on the human body, prematurely aging joints and spines.

Safety equipment is a rare sight in Mexico

In Mexico wages are a lot lower than in Canada, the US and most European countries.  Unqualified jobs often paid the minimum daily wage of $73.04 Mexican pesos, which is about $4.25 USD per day.   

It’s barely a survival salary, not allowing for balanced meals that include protein.  

The more fortunate workers are usually involved with the hospitality trade of restaurants and bars, where their income is supplemented by tips from their clientele.

Filling in after new main water line installed

The next time you are enjoying the sun, sand and cerveza on our little slice of paradise, remember the folks who make it all possible.  

A little kindness goes a long way.

Hasta Luego

Lynda & Lawrie

4 Replies to “International Workers’ Day – Really getting into the job”

  1. Hey there! We visited Isla in April and we received this card from your husband. Great blog! Makes me miss the island. I was wondering if there is any new news in regards to the fisherman who were lost.


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