Note published on August 18 in El Economista, Empresas [Companies] Section by María del Pilar Martínez.
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Within the framework of the “Labor Law” panel organized by the Escuela Libre de Derecho, specialists considered that the Trade Agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada has areas of opportunity in this area.
The existence of protection agreements arose, among other reasons, “from the fact that corporate labor design allowed it”; however, red flags raised by the International Labor Organization (ILO) were so many and pressure by the United States was such, that an in-depth reform that will enable ending the practice of simulation was made; nevertheless, Chapter 23 of the USMCA has areas of opportunity and must be reviewed given that there are new international agreements that must be included or adjusted.
This was explained by specialists in labor law within the framework of the panel on “Labor law” organized by the Escuela Libre de Derecho, in which the former head of the Conciliation and Arbitration Board of Mexico City, Darlene Rojas, informed that the most precise information on the existence of collective bargaining agreements in the country is of 300,000, given that a new registration number was assigned to an already registered agreement in the state of Jalisco.
During his participation, Luis Díaz Mirón, former Dean of the Escuela Libre de Derecho acknowledged that the signature of the “improperly called protection agreements” was possible because the law itself allowed them, those were other times, and these agreements currently need to be legitimized in order to be considered as valid.
Fernando Yllanes, advisor to several companies and employer representative at the ILO, explained that “we have a condition that we have to take into consideration, that at this year’s ILO conference a decision was adopted through which the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work was added, the principles of Safety, Safe and Healthy Working Environments. Of course, a safeguard was established, in the case of States that had already entered into trade agreements, this could not be applied retroactively, but the truth of the matter is that the trade agreement refers to these fundamental principles and rights at the workplace in several parts of Chapter 23 and it is very important and very interesting to discuss whether, at the end of the day, they will be incorporated as part of our obligations or not, and, obviously, to the obligations of the United States and Canada.”
Not reaching the point of the installation of a panel, important to avoid an economic impact
Given that the penalizations for a labor complaint within the framework of the USMCA are extremely serious, it is very important not to reach the point of the installation of a labor panel and give solution to any conflicts that are detected, explained Ricardo Martínez Rojas, labor specialist.
“The company that is being investigated because of the denial of labor rights could lose its tariff rights and, in the event of a second breach, then all installed plants in the country may suffer the same consequences; and there may be a third penalization, a customs embargo, that is, not being able to export products into the United States”; he explained.
Martínez Rojas said that “the power that the United States kept is now related to labor, it is a hook, particularly in prioritary industries: automotive, auto parts, glass, the cement industry, call centers.”
He also said that “the Americans structured it very well, they have an Interdepartmental Committee comprised by the Departments of Trade and Labor and they have a series of experts under them, most of them from unions and, therefore, we are under a great amount of pressure.