Axes of the 2021 labor policy agenda that companies should take into consideration

Note published in Factor Capital Humano, Mundo del Trabajo [The World of Work] Section by Gerardo Hernández.
Read the note in its original source

The new model for the administration of labor justice, the new rules of union democracy and the commitments assumed by Mexico in the USMCA will be a challenge for Human Resources areas next year.

The year 2021 will be, once again, a year with a heavy load of labor issues. Items such as the new model for the resolution of disputes between employers and employees, the commitments made by Mexico within the framework of the USMCA in regard to union democracy and the combat of forced labor matters as well as the possible reform for the regulation of subcontracting present an active panorama for those in charge of human capital within companies.

Ricardo Martínez Rojas, founding partner of the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Firm, reminded us that the new labor justice system is about to come into force on November 18, with new authorities for the resolution of conflicts and an important weight placed on conciliation as a tool for quickly resolving problems between employees and employers.

“It will be important for companies to prepare in this conciliatory stage. We suggest that companies have, within their Human Resources staff, a person who knows how to conciliate, who knows how to mediate and who can go to these new conciliation centers to carry out conciliations, they will be very fast”, he explained during his participation in the virtual forum Perspectives, 2021, of the Mexican Association for Human Resources (Amedirh).

The specialist showed confidence on the speed of the new model of labor justice for resolving conflicts, which provides a period of 45 days for the solution of individual cases. The promise of faster and expedited solutions, however, requires that the labor relationship areas be prepared with the evidence that will be submitted during the conciliation and, if applicable, in the trial before a labor court.

“The time it will take will be shortened greatly; in this new stage, we will have, at most, 15 days to prepare the answer and offer evidence. Therefore, the team of people who has the evidence must be very well prepared. Periods of time will be very short, we believe that it will be truly helpful that you have a new team able to act within these periods of time, which will be very short”, the specialist pointed out.

Commitments in regard to union democracy

In 2021, stated Ricardo Martínez, it will be necessary for organizations to provide support in the legitimization of collective bargaining agreements, without interfering in union life, since the labor reform and the commitments undertaken by Mexico through Annex 23-A of the USMCA establish this obligation.

Additionally, companies must take into account that direct negotiations with union leaders, without consulting the workers, are over. “That review of the contract that was carried out in a friendly manner with the leader, over coffee, is gone.”

From another point of view, the specialist believes that the 2019 labor reform opened the door for companies to operate without a union relationship; however, in order to achieve this, it is necessary for the Human Resources area to be closer to their workers, to seek their well-being and to constantly listen to their concerns.

“This way, it will be very difficult for a union to invade us, as in the past, when they threatened us with a call to strike, extorted us, made us pay and made us tremble. We like the new reform, copied from the United States, very much because it will prevent simulation, it will avoid extortion”, he pointed out.

Combat on forced labor.

Just like in the new labor justice model, authentic collective bargaining and full respect of collective rights are required; the specialist recalled that the eradication of forced labor is another one of the commitments assumed by our country in signing the USMCA.

Unlike international panels, that will intervene in the event of a complaint due to a violation of collective rights, in the presence of a case of forced labor in a company exporting to the United States or Canada, exporting will be canceled, explained Martínez Rojas.

In this sense, the labor lawyer emphasized that the Human Resources areas must ensure that these practices are not present in their organizations, understanding that forced labor is a very broad concept, which can also include instances in which people work longer hours than those allowed by the Federal Labor Law.

“The other recommendation is that they keep a very sharp lookout to ensure that they are not carrying out any type of forced labor, with excessively long or unlimited working hours. For the purposes of the USMCA, this is considered to be forced labor and does not require a panel; therefore, it is extremely important that we conduct an analysis on the manner in which we are working”, he explained.

The specialist recalled that the entire supply chain is now subject to compliance with collective rights and the eradication of forced labor, in order not to lose tariff and customs duties rights with the United States and Canada.