Uncertainty due to the reform to outsourcing triggered stress among workers: experts

Note published on August 29 in La Jornada, Política [Politics] Section by Jared Laureles
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With the implementation of the reform that prohibits subcontracting, some companies lack clarity on whether or not they can keep their staff or not. Faced with this panorama, around 2 million workers find themselves immersed in uncertainty in regard to the stability of their jobs, which has affected their physical and mental health, experts said.

According to Edelman consulting’s trust barometer, 67 percent of the surveyed Mexicans said they were more afraid of losing their job than of being infected by Covid-19 (49 percent). This situation has become the main precursor of depression, stress, anxiety and burnout (exhaustion).

In an interview, José Mársico, general manager at Body Systems, a firm specializing in corporate well-being programs, said that, according to research studies, “almost 80 percent” of the workforce in Mexico reports “different levels “ of the previously mentioned disorders.

“We are going through a highly important reform on subcontracting matters, and this is causing uncertainty at some level.” The pandemic has accelerated, deepened and worsened the number of people suffering mental imbalance.”

Burnout or exhaustion was incorporated into the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is estimated that it affects over 40 percent of the workers in Mexico, and it is considered as a public health problem.

“This uncertainty provoked by the reform, and which we still do not know which direction it will take” contracting companies with 5 million people who were under the outsourcing regime, “is creating a greater crevasse in the collateral damage of mental health”, Mársico said.

According to official numbers, 2.7 million workers have regularized their labor relationship as a result of the reform on subcontracting – the term  and the transitory provisions of  which reach their deadline on September 1.

Héctor de la Cruz, labor lawyer at De la Vega & Martínez, agreed that “the expectation of becoming unemployed” has a negative effect on both the physical and the mental health of workers, given that several companies “are considering the elimination of a certain number of positions.” He stated that there is another group of affected workers, those who are in no danger of losing their job and “somehow have the obligation to work harder” in order to keep their job. That is, he explained “now we are going to do more with less in many companies and this will lead them to burnout and to physically and mentally wear down the working class in many industries. A global OCC online employment platform survey showed that, after the reactivation of the economic and labor activity, eight out of  every10 workers have presented this syndrome.