JUST as tax matters represent new challenges for the private sector, there are also important questions in labor matters. New increases to the minimum wage are coming. Although the timing for its determination at the CONASAMI [National Commission on Minimum Wages], headed by Andrés Peñaloza, is still not imminent – the limit being December 15 – the IP is worried that the increase will be disproportionate and unrelated to productivity.
There is also the decision approved by the Commission on Labor of the Senate, initiated by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, to expand the term for the payment of accrued salaries during labor proceedings, which took everyone by surprise.
Additionally, in the midst of the changes made in the labor arena with Andrés Manuel López Obrador already in office, their compliance could be a condition for the ratification of the USMCA in the US, which is crucial for attracting new foreign investment.
The fact that this matter could be extended to 2021 is not the best news.
The question, as is known, is immersed in a climate of struggle between Donald Trump and the Democrats, and the latter will not compromise so easily unless they obtain certain dividends.
Within this framework, there was a visit of a delegation of US legislators headed by Richard Neal, of the Commission of Media and Arbitration, who is in charge of the ratification of the USMCA.
In addition to holding conversations with President López Obrador, Marcelo Ebrard of the SRE [Ministry of Foreign Affairs], Arturo Herrera of the SHCP [Ministry of Finance and Public Credit] and Luisa María Alcalde of the STPS [Department of Labor and Social Welfare], companies were visited to verify the reality of the workers.
The objective is to eliminate wage dumping, which is considered a factor of inequity by the US in its efforts to take jobs back.
Other delegations of US legislators have carried out similar exercises. At this very moment Mondelez, led by Oriol Bonaclocha, is being put in question by the US. It was corroborated that salaries of 97 US dollar cents per hour are being paid in its Monterrey plant.
Richard Trumka, head of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFLCIO), has not ceased to revile Mexico for its labor conditions and has anticipated that, at present, there is no consensus to ratify the USMCA before the end of November.
In fact, legislators asked from the government guarantees that the changes to the labor law can be complied with to guarantee the freedom of collective association and bargaining and the improvement of justice.
They want direct inspection facilities here and, in the event of non-compliance, to activate the mechanism for dispute settlement provided for in the USMCA.
Now, unlike NAFTA, in which labor matters were included in parallel letters, the USMCA includes Chapter 23 and an appendix with commitments and risks. So far, Mexico has complied, in the opinion of expert Oscar de la Vega, of De la Vega y Martínez Rojas, S.C., but, certainly, implementation is yet to be made. Additionally, there are justified questions by the legislators on budgetary matters.
It is known that Herrera explained that the required resources could be obtained via a credit from the World Bank.
In any case, the fact is that labor matters are also a cause for concern for companies.
It TURNS OUT THAT NOW a course is being taught at the SEMARNAT [Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources] by Víctor Manuel Toledo. Blanca Alicia Mendoza, of the PROFEPA [Federal Attorney’s Office for Environmental Protection] is also participating. The contents have scandalized the mining industry.
There is talk of making changes to the “neo-liberal extracting” policy, of the “predatory vein of transnational capital” and of a “weak institutionality subordinated to investment”. Minera San Xavier, located in SLP, belonging to Canadian New Gold of Renaud Adams is being taken as an example. They are spoken of as “criminal, illegal and super destructive mining based on the corruption of the neo-liberal political power”. Is this a training course or rather, indoctrination? Highly sensitive.
IN ADDITION TO BOLSTERING the curricula to place children and young people at the center of the equation, another challenge for the SEP [Ministry of Public Education], headed by Esteban Moctezuma, is the terrible state that the schools are in. As an example, 30% of the 270 thousand schools have no bathrooms, which is one of the main causes for young girls dropping out of school. 21 thousand million pesos will be allocated for improvements. The resources come from the sub-exercise of other agencies and will be transferred to parents with strict supervision mechanisms. The objective is to have each unit decide what it needs.
THE NEWS IS that Francisco Pancho González has joined Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins as Vice-president of LA and the Caribbean. In what is known as fast food, the Mexican executive needs no introduction, after collaborating at McDonald’s for 25 years. Dunkin’ Brands Group has 21 thousand points of sale in 60 countries, including Mexico. Gonzalez will report to Rick Colón, head of operations of the American company.
TALKING ABOUT SUCCESSFUL MEXICANS, Antonio Madero Bracho falls within this category. He was founder of Rassini in 1984, one of the most influential auto part firms in the country. He previously owned Minera San Luis and also ventured into the hotel business. Also a member of the CMN [Mexican Council of Businessmen], he worked toward the obtainment of NAFTA and now the USMCA. He will receive the Woodrow Wilson award on November 12, precisely for his bilateral contribution. This award is granted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars. Other Mexican nationals who have received this award are the late Lorenzo Servitje, of Bimbo, and Lorenzo Zambrano, de CEMEX.
BY ALBERTO AGUILAR
Opinion Article Nombres, Nombres y… Nombres, published in El Heraldo de México by Alberto Aguilar