Where is the Defender of Human and Labor Duties?

Note published on May 19 in El Economista, Capital Humano [Human Capital] Section by Blanya Correal and Oscar Pabón.
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Each day we see increasing pressure in collective bargaining negotiations, where the bills present a series of requests for the improvement of the benefits that are not accompanied by proposals for the improvement of productivity.

In the labor arena, and within the framework of the Reform to the Federal Labor Law, we are facing various challenges, as multiple leaders that endeavor to win the workers over are emerging. seeking their representation, some of them promising collective benefits and rights that sound attractive but lack the necessary balance to become a reality.

At this time, there is a great deal of insistent talk and rights are being claimed in all forums (communication media, social networks, etc.); however, the duties that are precisely the ones that make the equilibrium of this equation possible are not even mentioned.

In Latin America, we have been facing a new social trend, especially present in the new generations who, through social protest, heatedly request what, according to them, “is their due”, but nobody even dares mention the obligations that these same rights entail, forgetting easily that there is a close relationship between obligations and privileges, in the absence of which it is impossible to think of a just or equitable society. And this applies in the same manner in the world of labor.

In the labor democracy processes in which workers throughout our Republic are participating at this time, both for the legitimization of collective bargaining agreements and for the ratification of comprehensive reviews, we have started identifying a growing trend in which the promises of better conditions, which are not necessarily based on the true possibilities of the business are gaining ground, which causes workers to make the decision of supporting new collective movements that threaten the sustainability of their own jobs. What is definitively lacking in these discourses is precisely the commitment of those being represented to improve productivity, results or ensure the  sustainability of their source of employment in the mid and long term.

Aristotle said that, compared to rights, the discovery of duties requires more effort. These trends in the personal and labor arenas are also permeating the political-social arenas, but we have forgotten them. Why is it that modern man does not feel that he has any duties toward society, that he can and should only demand his rights without having any responsibility toward others? Where has the consciousness of the collective over the individual gone?

Where, then, is the Defender of Human and Labor Duties? These trends are leaving the companies as the sole parties responsible for creating awareness among the workers of the need for balance. Each day we see increasing pressure in collective bargaining negotiations, where the bills present a series of requests for the improvement of the benefits that are not accompanied by proposals for the improvement of productivity. There is talk about acquired rights or customs and usages that end up threatening the viability of companies.

Fortunately, some exceptions are also starting to appear, there are companies in some sectors of the country that are developing practices in which workers are part of the solution, through teams for the improvement of working conditions that seek a better environment for everyone, in which workers additionally have the opportunity of understanding the implications of the proposals and, together with the companies, they build mechanisms for giving solution to the concerns posed by their colleagues.

There are very positive examples of the negotiation of benefits based on productivity, in which the improvement of one point in the production goal is related to the improvement of the contribution of the company to scholarships for the workers’ children, food subsidies or benefits for their families. In these contexts, workers are learning that the source of better condition lies in a better performance, not on conflict or negotiation using mechanisms to apply pressure. And, without a doubt, a scheme of this type can drive us toward an increased labor competitiveness and differentiation before markets.

We need to develop an honest and balanced culture in our workers, which modifies tabulators by seniority and makes them evolve toward meritocracy, where the effort of each person and the positive fulfillment of their duties generate balance in the assurance of their rights and the improvement of conditions.

How about we feel proud of our nationality, of our country once again, respecting its rules  understanding that we must not only demand, but also respond?

How about we start accepting and obeying the Constitution and the laws before demanding that others comply with them to our benefit? Or seeking mechanisms to make things happen more quickly, even when we know that we are deviating from what is right?

How about we ensure that we are acting honestly, loyally, in good faith before complaining about the generalized corruption and basing the justification of our actions of “accommodating” policies or regulations, such as the payment of PTU [Employee Profit Sharing] or the compliance of the regulation payments of remote work on this corruption?

And, above all, before demanding our rights, let us understand that we must perform our duties responsibly.