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Cruel and Unusual punishment

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Some times I am reminded that  not all the folks at Lakeside are enjoying the "Paradise" that is the attraction for many ex pats,...... a low cost of living etc.
 
One of these occasions came to mind this week when I came upon a Peon "breaking boulders/rocks" for a house construction.
I thought this construction  practice died out years ago but apparently not, welcome to Mexico in the Middle ages. 
 
I immediately had a flash back to 50 years ago when driving on the highway to Atlanta I came across a real live Chain  Gang "breaking rocks" under the supervision of 2 very big sheriff  and intimidating deputies ,shotguns and dark sun glasses, just like the movies. 
 
But I digress. 
 
I guess my question is how and when will the real standard of living will improve for poor Mexicans.
 
Why does this job even exist in this day and age. Would it help if this Gringo instructed his contractor to order rocks already broken to size. But would this mean the Peon then has no work?
 
What do we as ex pats contribute to maintaining "slave" wages, as we "boast" the cheapness of having a Maid and Gardner etc. 
 
Is it time for Mexico to enact a "Living Wage"
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Do you have first-hand knowledge that this was a house construction for a gringo?  The only time I've ever seen this, living in Mexico for 17 years, was at a construction project behind me, for a Mexican. When I saw the workers doing this, without even any eye protection, I told them they should ask the patron to purchase a load of smaller rocks. They patted their elbows and said "Muy codo, el patron".

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Peónes are ranch and farm workers. Albañiles are construction workers. Probably they need the larger stones chipped down to a certain custom size like a jigzaw puzzle to make the wall where the rocks fit together tightly with no overabundance of cement mordar which is ugly and poor workmanship. You could have witnessed a stone craftsman working on his project with pride for all you know.

 

" When you choose to look down on something, you render yourself incapable of understanding it."
Stewart Stafford
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What makes you think the cruel home owner was gringo and what makes you think our very very small population of foreigners should even mess with what has been established as the official standard of wages in this part of México?  When a gringo thinks that THEIR maid or gardener deserves to receive a 5 o 6 times increase in wages, more than what is paid to the average worker, how is that really helping things?  Paying a local worker US standard pay has the potential to do more harm then good to the other average middle class Mexicans who also need a maid and gardener but can only pay them a fair steady salary by local standards.  Some are creating much resentment and boasting where it is not needed. And nor is it fair to the Mexican community as a whole.  Think guys, think!

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2 hours ago, AlanMexicali said:

Peónes are ranch and farm workers. Albañiles are construction workers. Probably they need the larger stones chipped down to a certain custom size like a jigzaw puzzle to make the wall where the rocks fit together tightly with no overabundance of cement mordar which is ugly and poor workmanship. You could have witnessed a stone craftsman working on his project with pride for all you know.

 

" When you choose to look down on something, you render yourself incapable of understanding it."
Stewart Stafford

Whoever told you this?  An albañil is a brick layer,  a maestro, not just any construction obrero,  and construction laborers are peones, not just farm workers.

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6 hours ago, slainte39 said:

Whoever told you this?  An albañil is a brick layer,  a maestro, not just any construction obrero,  and construction laborers are peones, not just farm workers.

  I follow the traditional translation of the word I learnt watching old Mexican movies. I have never hear anyone call a low skilled worker a "Peón" only a "trabajador/a."

"DEFINITION OF PEÓN

The concept of a peón has several meanings. On the one hand, it can be the worker who charges per day and develops simple tasks that do not require great knowledge; Typically, laborers who do seasonal jobs linked to agriculture.


For example: "The grandfather will have to hire more laborers for the harvest," "A laborer was injured when a tree fell," "The government should worry about the situation of the laborers: their employers do not respect any labor rights."

Peón are usually rural workers who do not have land and, therefore, must sell their labor power to some landowner. In general, the relationship they have with their employer includes the daily payment for each day worked."

https://definicion.de/peon/

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How much should uneducated and unskilled workers be paid?  Someone illiterate?  

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"Why does this job even exist in this day and age. Would it help if this Gringo instructed his contractor to order rocks already broken to size. But would this mean the Peon then has no work?" 

Where do I start?  There is no such thing in Mexico as a giant machine whose only purpose is to break big rocks into small rocks, in order by size and shape.  Understanding that, how do you think the rocks will be broken so the contractor can order them by size, etc.?  Probably the same guy who is breaking the rocks on the job site will be somewhere else breaking rocks to be shipped.

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Some argue (I believe legitimately) that Raising the Minimum Wage Will Harm Workers and the Economy ...

Everybody with a heart wants to see people make a living wage. 

I also doubt that anyone wants to see people end up with no job at all (or decreased hours) because of increased minimum wages.

 

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It's far superior than NOB when people do work like breaking rocks ,etc. and not having machines do it so that sitting around doing nothing and collecting welfare and using food stamps has become the occupation. I have had workers here doing rock breaking for walls and singing while doing it. Does that sound like they're unhappy?

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In addition to "tilting at windmills".....the OP usually can't even find a windmill to attack and chooses any subject to get responses by throwing darts at a list....this time his darts missed the huge list and hit a worker breaking rocks.......next time, maybe a Federale.

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1 hour ago, happyjillin said:

It's far superior than NOB when people do work like breaking rocks ,etc. and not having machines do it so that sitting around doing nothing and collecting welfare and using food stamps has become the occupation. I have had workers here doing rock breaking for walls and singing while doing it. Does that sound like they're unhappy?

Of course hydraulic rock splitters and log splitters are everywhere. They are not expensive, but they are dangerous. What you saw was probably rock trimming, by hand, not splitting using drills and feathers.

Ask the 200 years worth of slaves, who sang while they worked, if they were unhappy. Ask the soldiers who marched while singing, walking to an almost certain death, if they were unhappy.

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On 8/29/2019 at 10:31 AM, CHILLIN said:

Of course hydraulic rock splitters and log splitters are everywhere. They are not expensive, but they are dangerous. What you saw was probably rock trimming, by hand, not splitting using drills and feathers.

Ask the 200 years worth of slaves, who sang while they worked, if they were unhappy. Ask the soldiers who marched while singing, walking to an almost certain death, if they were unhappy.

Here we go again. Have you nothing better to do? I guess the painters,plasterers,carpenters ,tree trimmers et al the workers we have had around here and our Mexican neighbours too,they can all be compared to slaves and soldiers marching to their deaths because they sing while they work. By the way ,I have farmer friends in Canada that made their own rock and wood splitters. How inventive-eh! Too bad that you can't fathom that workers sing around here because they're just plain happy. How sad that you think otherwise.

edit: I forgot to mention one of my neighbours whistles while he works and he works at many things as do a lot of Mexican workers I know. You might consider them self sufficient.

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As someonewho works and live with some of the very poor in this country, let me set you straight and stop feeling sorry for everything you see.

The wages in indigenous communities in Chiapas by indigenous bosses is 

200 pesos for  good albañil 

100 pesos for a peon and yes it is what they are called in some parts of the country.

The bags that the "poor" revenders from Chamula that you can see at tianguis like the one in Ajijic that sell for 750 pesos and take about 2 weeks to make by skilled weavers cost the Chamulans revendor 15 pesos a day which means that out of that the weaver  has to pay for the material.

A top weaver working for a co-opmakes 18 to 25 pesos an hour material provided or not..

Usually there are several peones working at breaking stones and they take turns at breaking the stone, they do not hit the stone all day  and that is the traditional way to make walls.

I have supervised and organized kiln building by indigenous for indigenous, , when they needed rock they hired a pick up and went to the river to gather rocks and then broke the big ones, I saw them do it.. no one works all day breaking the stones.

People in this area make a lot of money for really poor work a lot of time..  I was with a Japanese maestro when the kiln was being built and he, worked in Chhuahua, Guanajuato, Oaxca, Mexico State, Jalisco , Michoacan, and he was totally impressed by the skill and the hard work of the workers in Chiapas and they are some of the worst paid... 

Keep in mind that a peon makes more money by the day than a top skilled weaver... think about that when you buy clothes that are handwoven by hand  and not with the large looms  either...

In all the kilns that were built no "gringo" was involved it was all locals paying locals so do not blame foreigners for low wages....

What is the OP doing to help in that situaton , outside of posting on this forum? Take some of the peones see what they are good at, tech them a trade so their wages can improve,paying more than the market pays is a waste of time..

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I recently built in Riberas and the contractor hauled in a truck load of rocks both big and small. They dug down about 4 feet and started the stem walls.  The person doing the stem walls was a craftsman, picking out the right size rocks and breaking off from the bigger ones a rock of the size he needed.  I was amazed when they got to the top the walls were straight and almost perfectly level.  I asked the contractor why they did not use cement, he said because rocks are harder.  When completed I gave the rock builder a little bonus for the great work he had done.  I do not consider these people illiterate, they are skilled labor and we are lucky to have them.

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 They may or may not be illiterate.. Some of the top artisans in this country are illiterate or semi illiterate.. Many comes from famly were hard work is valued  more than education.. I work with several people who have been invited by Museums and great institutions, in Europe, Latin America, Canada and the States and are illiterate and they make good money too..

Their parents put them to work vey young, the schools are lousy in rural areas and there are lots of illiterate...do not think these people are stupid , most of them are not.

I just ran accross a 15 year old girl who speak beautiful Spanish and is a great weaver  and  works with natural dyes.. She has no indigenous accent , her uncle speak a little Spanish her aunt speaks no Spanish and they live in a very remote area in Chiapas.  Just found out she has never been sent to school, cannot read nor write.. What  had to found out is why her Spanish was so good..   She learned Spanish watching tapes of telenovela...

The family may be poor by our standard but they have land they cultivate, grow most of their food and get some cash making stunning ceremonial weavings. They live a very isolated life and are totally happy. The aunt is recognized as a top weaver in the country has won many national awards , she does not speak Spanish and is illiterate...

There is more to life  than the amount of money you are paid an hour.

 

 

Funny how people move to poor countries because life is cheaper and then bleed about the poor locals...

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6 minutes ago, bmh said:

Funny how people move to poor countries because life s cheaper and then bleed about the poor locals...

Being a big fish in a litte pond rather than being a little fish in a big pond is satisfying for some - makes them feel better about themselves and sometimes can't help letting people know why.

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We seem to acquire our priorities from our families very early in life.  As pointed out by others, achieving excellence in something is way higher on some peoples lists than making money.  That was the way my family thought,  and appears to be common here, too.

IMHO, the U.S. (and elsewhere) attitudes have gotten way out of  whack for too many people, and IMHO, that does not lead to a life of happiness or satisfaction.

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3 hours ago, rafterbr said:

I recently built in Riberas and the contractor hauled in a truck load of rocks both big and small. They dug down about 4 feet and started the stem walls.  The person doing the stem walls was a craftsman, picking out the right size rocks and breaking off from the bigger ones a rock of the size he needed.  I was amazed when they got to the top the walls were straight and almost perfectly level.  I asked the contractor why they did not use cement, he said because rocks are harder.  When completed I gave the rock builder a little bonus for the great work he had done.  I do not consider these people illiterate, they are skilled labor and we are lucky to have them.

Do you know what the word illiterate means? It simply means one can't read or write. Saying someone is illiterate isn't an insult, it's either fact or it isn't. There's no such thing as "considering" someone illiterate.There are plenty of skilled workers in Mexico who are illiterate, it doesn't have a bearing on their work one way or the other.

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