The authorities and unions are progressing slowly in regard to the labor reform: expert

Note published in El Sol de México, Economía [Economy] Section by Bertha Becerra.

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The Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration, one of the pillars of the new Labor regulation model is two months away from starting operations.

The Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration (CFCRL), one of the pillars of the new labor regulation model is two months away from starting operations; the USMCA is already in force and unions are legitimizing themselves at a very slow pace.

The authority, the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) is also acting slowly, despite the fact that extensive resources have been injected into the project of the Labor Reform. “We don’t know where the Labor Courts will be located, who the judges will be, how the personnel that will work in the Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration is being trained and how, finally, the collective bargaining agreements of those unions that are reluctant to voluntarily legitimize their agreements will be actually legitimized.”, stated Héctor de la Cruz, expert in labor law, in an interview with El Sol de México.

“In short, the changes to the Labor Reform are slow. They are not being made at the required speed. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic happened and it downplayed the importance of the entry in force of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and of all of the regulations in labor matters, which are already at our door”, stated the lawyer.

He said that “we are under that scheme that does not allow us to advance at the required speed in the implementation of the Labor Reform. While there is an advance of 80% in the legitimization of the collective bargaining agreements at the federal level, the most serious problem is that there is minimal progress at the local level”.

He explained that the unions in question work in areas of the Republic outside of Mexico City or are companies that are not considered as being federal, such as shopping centers, convenience stores. “Companies belonging to these sectors are lagging behind in the legitimization of their collective bargaining agreements. We are talking about a universe, according to the STPS, of more than 12 thousand agreements”.

In the opinion of the interviewed lawyer, De la Cruz, with more than twenty years’ experience in the labor world “this is an important number. Surely, many of these collective bargaining agreements are protection agreements and they will have to disappear”.

Additionally, he said: “there is no clear census or statistic provided by the authorities that gives us a precise number of the collective bargaining agreements that have not yet been legitimized”.

About the changes?

– The unions are the ones that must assume this responsibility. They are the ones who must legitimize, they must change their statutes. And, eventually, so will the employers.

All of this implies a change of culture, from a culture in which unionism was mostly inactive, save for a few very large and very strong unions. The others, I believe, have not yet come to realize what must be done.

And the new regulations? And the labor attachés?

– Regulations in labor matters in the USMCA are not only for large companies. They are for those companies that are exporters and there are many medium and small companies that are exporters.

In regard to the labor attachés, they will verify compliance with regulations. They will be an observation bridge for their respective countries.

This is why it is important to start working ASAP and changing the mentality, that situation that places us in a Mexico of 20 years ago. We must modernize. Labor regulations are international, even. The have been in existence for over 40 years. Simply, Mexico had flatly refused to accept them, to acknowledge them in practice. It is time.

And he warned that “otherwise, instead of being a vehicle for companies to grow and for workers to have a better standard of living, the USMCA will become a burden and we will be permanently embroiled in international litigations, in complaints, in the application of penalizations. It will be a never-ending story ”.