A Mexican state water company worker has sewn his lips together to draw attention to his five-year fight to get a promotion.

Jose Alberto Celis used a needle and thread to put five stitches through his lips in front of the water company headquarters in the eastern city of Veracruz.

He handed a statement to reporters on Monday saying he has pleaded his case before several state institutions but only received unfulfilled promises.

Celis has been a laborer at the company for 18 years and has been seeking an office job since 2004.

Water company labor-union leader Angelica Navarette dismissed Celis as a troublemaker whose demands are unfounded. She said the company has offered him better benefits but he refuses to compromise.