The labor model is off to a weak start

Note published in Reforma, Negocios [Business] Section by Verónica Gascón.
Read the note in its original source

Note published in El Norte, Negocios [Business] Section by Verónica Gascón.
Read the note in its original source

Note published in Mural, Negocios [Business] Section by Verónica Gascón
Read the note in its original source

Express process

With the new process for labor justice, it is estimated that conciliation will take 45 days and, in the event of going to trial, cases will  take 6 months, at the most.
·  Cases currently in Conciliation Boards take 4 years in average
·  In the new model, if conciliation fails, files are transferred to court.
·  There is a written and an oral phase. A certificate of non-conciliation and evidence are presented in the first one.
·  In the oral hearing, the procedure is refined, evidence is admitted or discarded, and a judgment is rendered.
Source: STPS

The new model for solving labor disputes has started operations, but with flaws.

The first phase of the labor reform came into effect on November 18 in eight entities of the Country, which means that the local Conciliation Centers started operations, substituting the Local Boards.

The Centers will receive the cases and will seek to mediate between the employer and the employee within a period of 45 days.

But the first cases that have reached the local Centers have run into flaws that get in the way of reaching agreements between employers and workers and the cases are not being resolved as expected, warned labor lawyers.

“I have cases in the State of Mexico Conciliation Center, and I see them work with difficulty. They are all inexperienced, there is no administrative order.

“I have had seven matters that reached the stage of “request for conciliation” through the Center; four of these decided not to settle”, said Diego García Saucedo, labor lawyer and a member of the Mexican Academy of Labor Procedural Law.

This contrasts with the statement made by the Minister of Labor, Luisa Alcalde, saying that 80 percent of the cases are being resolved through the Conciliation Centers.

Luis Adrián Rosas, expert in the labor area at the Hogan Lovells Firm, emphasized that the personnel’s lack of training for mediating between parties in conflict is evident.

“They still haven’t started working full force and there are shortcomings in which officials are not sufficiently trained, they are conciliators that have not been trained or have not been provided with negotiation techniques to aid an employer and a worker in reaching an agreement instead of resorting to a judicial body”, he said.

If conciliators are not trained, the specialist warned, there will be bottleneck in the resolution of the process, which is precisely what the Labor Reform is intended to avoid.

The federal entities in which local Conciliation Centers have been launched are Durango, San Luis Potosí, Chiapas, Zacatecas, Hidalgo (only on the federal aspect), the State of México, Campeche and Tabasco.

Jorge Sales, labor lawyer of the Sales Boyoli Firm, considers that the performance level among the local Conciliation Centers is unequal.

“Training provided to conciliation officers is very uneven, there are states within the Republic in which one can tell that the investment in the preparation of officials was more thorough than in other entities. There are officials that act in good faith, but are not familiar with labor law”, he stated.

He gave, as an example, a case in which one of the conciliation officers did not know how to make the correct and full calculation of a worker’s termination payment,

“The Conciliation Center’s Mission was to reduce the claims that reached them by a minimum of 60 percent with the objective of avoiding the saturation of the courts, as is currently the case in the Conciliation and Arbitration Boards; however, the conciliating officers that have assisted us have not done anything that is different from what we already knew as the previous model.

“If this situation continues, it will cause the Courts to be saturated and the new model will not be able to function as intended, because we will have courts full of claims”, said Héctor de la Cruz, a lawyer at the De la Vega y Martínez Law Firm.

The Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) stated that the second phase of the application of the labor reform will be applied on October first of this year in Baja California, Baja California Sur, Colima, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Querétaro, Guerrero, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Morelos, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Quintana Roo.

This implies that new local Conciliation Centers will open, and the Boards will stop receiving new cases and they will only work on reducing the backlog of files.

In the opinion of Jorge Sales, of Sales Boyoli, the challenge for these states will be to have sufficient budget to comply with the calendar established by the STPS.