The US accuses the country of lagging behind on labor matters

Note published in Reforma, Negocios [Business] Section by Frida Andrade and Verónica Gascón.
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Nota publicada en El Norte, sección Negocios por Frida Andrade y Verónica Gascón.
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Nota publicada en Mural, sección Negocios por Frida Andrade y Verónica Gascón.
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Mexico is lagging behind in labor measures to comply with the USMCA and there are violations to rights, revealed a report published in the US. Photo: Alfredo Moreno

The Country is lagging behind in implementing labor measures to comply with the commitments of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and there are clear violations to rights, revealed a report presented before the US Congress by an Independent Labor Expert Board.

“Many of the changes promised to improve the lives of workers, in terms of union democracy, freedom of association and collective bargaining, remain to be implemented. Most unionized workers are not yet able to democratically elect their leaders or ratify their collective bargaining agreements.”, it points out.

It makes the accusation that a high percentage of workers in Mexico are under protection contracts, which are signed between employers and unions that have no representation.

These contracts ensure low wages and poor working conditions, it accuses.

The report highlights that subcontracting or outsourcing, which was recently a subject of discussion in the Country, prevents compliance with the labor reform.

“These practices (outsourcing) make it increasingly difficult for workers to determine who bears legal responsibility for their wages, benefits and working conditions and to obtain a remedy if their rights are violated.”, criticizes the document dated on December 15.

Among the recommendations, it requests that the US Government collaborates with the implementation of the USMCA and that the creation of conciliation centers in Nuevo León and Tamaulipas be brought forward to October 2021.

Armando Guajardo, president of the Labor Commission of Coparmex [Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic], assured that protection contracts will tend to be eliminated as the labor reform progresses.

“Protection contracts will end with the reform itself; those contracts will no longer be legitimized if they have no true representation of the workers. They will disappear”, he pointed out,

He rejected that these contracts exist to pay low wages to workers, on the contrary, it has been a form of defense against extortion form certain unions.

“Why would they have bearing on two states going forward in 2021, when they are programmed for 2022?”

“Let us recall that they established these interinstitutional bodies that report to the USTR (United States Trade Representative) and the Department of Labor, but they are viewers, the report is for those bodies, but they have no power or right to interference within Mexico”, he replied.

For his part, Héctor de la Cruz, lawyer at the De la Vega y Martínez Firm, pointed out that the document only provides recommendations, but would have a true impact if the US Congress decides to enforce them.

“It is worrying that it is said that there is a scheme for the repression of workers that has culminated with dismissals, jail or murders”, he pointed out.