A new protocol is prepared for the legitimation of collective bargaining agreements, inspectors will gain importance

Note published on March 16 in Factor Capital Humano, Leyes y Gobierno [Laws and Government] section by Gerardo Hernández.
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The new protocol for the legitimation of collective bargaining agreements will be discussed in the next few days; unions will use this protocol to conduct this procedure before the Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration starting in May.

The Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration (CFCRL) defined the new protocol for the legitimation of collective bargaining agreements in Mexico, a document that it will submit to the governing board of the institution for its approval in preparation for the registration responsibilities that it will assume as of May 1.

The new protocol will be discussed on March 18 and it proposes increasing the importance of the verification personnel who will monitor that the consultation processes for the legitimation of agreements is conducted in accordance with the norm.

“The facts certified by the verifying personnel in the minutes and opinions that they prepare in the performance of their duties will be considered to be true unless the opposite is proven”, states Article 7 of the draft.

According to the proposal, the verifying personnel will be any public servant appointed by the CFCRL [Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Arbitration], federal inspectors of the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) or local inspectors of the Department of Labor or its counterparts in other entities.

On May 1, the Labor Center will assume its functions related to the legitimation of collective bargaining agreements, a procedure that all unions must complete no later than May 1, 2023, based on the Federal Labor Law (LFT).

As in the current protocol, the Labor Center will have the power to verify compliance with the rules for the legitimation procedure before, during and after the consultation, regardless of whether the union has hired a notary public to be present in this step of the process, which consists of the personal, free, direct and secret vote of the workers to provide or deny their support of the content of the collective bargaining agreement.

“In the event that the Center orders the verification of a consultation, both the employer and the union and its representatives will be required to permit access to the work center or to the place designated for the consultation to the verification personnel and, if applicable, to the observers authorized by the Center”, the document specifies.

What can be verified?

In practical terms, the verification personnel are responsible for monitoring that the complete consultation procedure with the workers is conducted in accordance with the established protocol and the LFT. By stages, they will review that:

» Prior to consultation

1. The call was signed by the person empowered to do so.

2. The call was published at least ten working days before the date of the consultation.

3. The call was posted in visible and accessible places in the work center and in the union offices.

4. The workers received a printed or an electronic copy of the collective bargaining agreement from the employer or, otherwise, from the union.

5. There were no acts of violence, intimidation or coercion that prevented the workers from voting or forcing them to vote in a specific way.

6. There was no distribution among the workers of false information or notoriously misleading information by union representatives, the employer or any intermediary, in regard to the legitimation procedure with the objective of preventing workers from voting or making them vote in a specific way.

7. Union representatives, the employer or any intermediary did not provide or promise any payments, gifts, goods or extraordinary benefits with the objective of preventing workers from voting, or of making them vote in a specific way.

8. The list of workers with the right to vote in the consultation does not exclude any person with the right to vote.

» During consultation

9. Only authorized persons were present at the place where voting was conducted: workers with the right to vote, a union commission or designated staff, verification personnel or officials of the labor authorities, the notary public and, where appropriate, electoral observers duly accredited by the Center.

10. Verification personnel or, if applicable, the notary public were present during the consultation.

11. Voting was conducted at the place and time specified in the call; workers who had the right to vote were allowed to do so and they showed a valid official ID.

12. The place designated for holding the voting process was accessible to workers and met the necessary conditions for them to cast their vote in a free, peaceful, agile and safe manner without any coercion whatsoever.

13. The employer did not intervene in the consultation procedure in any way.

14. Counting and computation of votes were conducted by the union in a public and transparent manner.

15. Unmarked ballots and those marked in more than one box were considered void.

16. There were no acts of violence, intimidation or coercion against workers.

» After consultation

17. Counting and computation minutes, voting lists, ballots and the documentation of the consultation procedure in general were safeguarded by the union.

18. Counting and computation minutes were posted in visible and accessible places in the work center and in the union offices.

Verifiers will prepare minutes with the results of the voting process and will have five working days, from the moment in which the consultation event was conducted, to prepare a report with “the details” of the verification process.

The protocol draft gives continuity to the complaint mechanism for the workers; it was included in the rules in force as of February of this year.

Profound change in organizational culture

The new collective bargaining rules, arising from the 2019 labor reform, are part of a reality that carries a profound change in organizational culture. The roles that workers will have in the future of collective relationships requires companies to assume a preventive role instead of a reactive one, explained Blanya Correal a specialist in Organizational and Labor Transformation Models.

“The reform is a reality; it is a topic that is modifying the arena, and something has to be done. One often stays in companies waiting for the problem to strike and we react according to what unfolds. But I believe that the first thing and the bottom line is that it is a strategic issue”, she said during her participation in the Labor Challenges, 2021 seminar, organized by the D&M Abogados Firm.

In this sense, the specialist pointed out that companies must have a strategic plan, with a human approach and with different actions, without interfering with the collective life of workers. “We have to surprise the collaborator, approach him with a different perspective.”

Blanya Correal emphasized that labor strategies are often focused on base personnel, but they do not include middle-management collaborators, who are the ones who truly impact the work environment.

“The prevention of a collective conflict starts from the first moment in which we ask ourselves what type of communication channel we have to reach our collaborators and how much they trust these channels”, she explained.

The specialist highlighted that, faced with the new labor model, companies must start including and listening to their entire workforce in regard to the improvement of working conditions before the workforce demands said improvement.

The new collective bargaining can trigger labor disputes when workers are not aware of the consequences of a strike on the source of employment. However, these disturbances are often motivated by needs of which organizations are sometimes unaware and, therefore, approaching collaborators is essential to avoid environments in crisis, stated Blanya Correal.