The elimination of around 120 thousand collective bargaining agreements (CCTs) as of May 2, after the deadline for their validation was reached, generated conflicting versions in regard to the need for having new individual contracts at the work centers, because the law is ambiguous.
While the labor authority and specialists on the matter say that the signing of new documents is not necessary for maintaining the validity of the acquired rights, labor lawyers maintain that it is, in fact, necessary for formalizing the conditions that were agreed in the CCT and avoiding “leaving the workers in uncertainty.”
Even though Articles 24 and 25 of the Federal Labor Law indicate that in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement working conditions must be stated in writing, Article 26 states:
“The absence of the document referred to in Articles 24 and 25 does not deprive the worker of the rights deriving from work regulations and from the provided services, as the employer will be held responsible for the absence of this formality.
For this reason, while it is important to have an individual contract that includes all of the signed conditions and benefits that the worker had in a CCT, “not having it does not entail a loss of labor rights”, in accordance with the Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration.
Gianni Rueda de León, coordinator of Individual Conciliation of the above agency, emphasized that companies have the obligation, by law, of maintaining each and every one of the rights of the workers that were part of the 120 thousand CCTs that disappeared because they were not submitted to the workers’ vote by the unions.
According to labor authorities, an estimated 20 thousand agreements remain valid, out of 139 thousand. Thus, 120 thousand documents ceased to have legal effects as of May 2, “they are definitively extinguished now”, she explained.
The official added that the Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration expects that the workers with no collective bargaining agreement will come to this agency in the next few weeks seeking conciliation processes with the companies in regard to the benefits set forth in the CCT. They will also receive advice on seeking union representation or the signature of a new collective agreement.
Lawyers that were consulted agreed with the above and added that these documents can be used as a starting point for the preparation and signature of new CCTs or improvements thereto.
In the opinion of Óscar de la Vega, a lawyer at the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Law Firm, the signature of individual contracts will not be necessary, because of this universe of CCTs that were eliminated “union participation was null” in the majority of the cases. Therefore, the employer and the workers will be the ones that will continue to reach agreements in regard to salary increases.
In contrast, Alberto Ramírez, a specialist in labor law at the Universidad Obrera, maintained that it is necessary to sign new individual contracts that include the extra-legal benefits that were previously agreed upon in the CCT with the objective of complying with the principles of certitude, veracity and legal certainty.