The case of union leader Hugo Bello must also be tried in labor courts: specialists

Note published in La Jornada, Política [Politics] Section by Jessica Xantomila.
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The case of the leader of the Liberty Confederation of Mexican Workers, Hugo Bello, arrested for being allegedly responsible for the crime of kidnapping, among other charges, should not only remain within the criminal arena, but should also transcend into the labor area, specialists agreed.

Carlos Reynoso Castillo, academic specialist at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) Azcapotzalco, stated that, should the commission of the crimes be proven, he must be penalized. “It cannot be possible for a union to commit illegal acts by using the legal framework”. he stated.

For its part, the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) stated that the labor reform opens the possibility of eliminating union records if it is proven that they are being misused, when, far from being used for defending the workers, they are used for blackmail and extortion.

On August 12 of this year, the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) of the Department of Finance and Public Credit also blocked the bank accounts of union leader Hugo Bello, as well as those of six individuals and four companies that are financially related.

In an interview, Reynoso Castillo explained that with this case a message can be sent to union organizations that carry out practices that go against the law, which “have used the excuse of the defense of their affiliated workers to conduct illegal activities”.

Ricardo Martínez Rojas, lawyer at the De la Vega y Martínez Rojas Firm, stated that the labor reform “constitutes very important progress for Mexico”, that it will help reduce extortion, violence and deceitfulness. He pointed out that just to have a collective bargaining agreement, unions must be acknowledged by 30 percent of the company’s workers. Previously, he recalled, “they would arrive, without having a single worker, and call a strike”.