Mexico senate approves labor law revisions

Los Angeles Times, 11/13/2012

Enrique Peña Nieto

Mexico’s senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would restrict workers’ rights to strike and relax hiring and firing rules for businesses.

The bill — passed after weeks of drama and debate — does not contain some of the original language that sought to reform the country’s notoriously sclerotic unions. Those measures were stripped out by members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, whose presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, won this year after promoting himself as a serious reformer, a claim his opponents now doubt more than ever.

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Reform in Mexico: Labour pains

The Economist, 11/30/2012

WALK into a restaurant in Mexico mid-morning and you will find a surplus of idle waiters. Return at lunchtime and you will find the same number of staff rushed off their feet. Like many Mexican businesses, restaurants are alternately over- and understaffed because the ancient labour laws restrict part-time work.

The labour code was last overhauled in 1970, and it shows. Mexico is the only country in Latin America where it is legal to sack a woman for being pregnant. Probationary periods are not recognised. The rigid rules are intended to protect workers. But they are so cumbersome that many smaller businesses ignore them, leaving workers with no rights at all. Mexico has one of the largest informal economies in Latin America. The World Bank reckons that less than 30% of workers pay into a pension (one indicator of formal employment), compared with nearly 60% in Brazil and Chile.

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Hourly wage in Mexico? Union members express fears of legislation

The Lost Angeles Times, 9/30/12

Mexico’s lower house of Congress has passed a major labor-reform law — the first changes in employment regulations in Mexico since 1970 — that would alter the way bosses and employees interact before, during and after a job…

The outgoing administration of President Felipe Calderon, which succeeded in passing the bill with help from the party of incoming President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, said the law would boost job rolls and competition in the labor market.

For union members, the measure — which is now on its way to Mexico’s Senate — would strip workers of what they called few relative benefits they enjoy under existing regulations, which they argue favor employers and large companies anyway.

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Mexico labor reform seeks to loosen hiring, union secrecy; workers say they will be the losers

The Washington Post, 9/25/12

Mexico’s main political parties agree that the country’s dysfunctional labor laws need to be retooled. What they don’t agree on is how, with a new proposal to loosen hiring and increase union democracy threatening to unleash a wave of labor unrest.

Advocates say the reform, which will allow part-time work, hourly wages and outsourcing, will help Mexico create the million new jobs per year it needs for young people and migrants returning from the United States. It is backed by both President Felipe Calderon, who submitted it to Congress this month, and President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto.

Opponents say Mexico’s low wages in several industries already make its labor force more attractive than increasingly affluent countries like China and the last thing its workers need is a reform that would pare the meager benefits and job security they currently enjoy.

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Editorial: A luxury that the generation of no will not be able to give (in Spanish)

Ciro Gómez Leyva, Milenio, 4/6/2010

The calendar is inexorable.  As of today, nine sessions remain.  What will the senators and deputies do during this period for the Mexico’s future?  Little, it appears.  As things look, the best prediction would be:

• Approve the National Security Law that has been requested by the Mexican military in the past year.

• Advance the anti-kidnapping law, and possibly approve it after April 30th in a special session.

• Begin the discussion of the various projects of political reform … and possibly also complete it during the special session.

• Progress, or see what progress can be made, in the discussion of labor and fiscal reforms, which do not appear to have a path toward approval in April or the special session.  Bye, bye, see you in September.

• If the politcal work has really been done and they wove together all the agreements, the surprise would be the approval of the anti-monopoly law, sent yesterday by Calderon.

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