The road to union freedom in Mexico
A few years ago, in Mexico there were changes in terms of labor representation. With the 2019 Labor Reform, it was proposed that collective labor contracts in the country must have been legitimized in line with what is established by the Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registrationwhich was created from these modifications.
Subsequently, on July 1, 2020, the T-MEC entered into forcethe new trade agreement supported by North America, which came to replace NAFTA and which this time, in its Article 23 and Annexestablished new freedoms of labor representation for workers, as well as the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (MLRR) in case of non-compliance.
In May 2021, The United States activated this mechanism for the first time After the alleged denial of the right to freedom of representation, they work at the General Motors in Silao, Guanajuatowhich previously held a collective contract with the union “Miguel Trujillo López” of the Confederation of Workers of Mexico.
After two union election processes, in which even observers from the World Labor Organizationthe workers elected the National Independent Union of Workers of the Automotive Industry (SINTTIA), over the CTM union.
Invalid collective contract, what does it mean for workers?
After the approval of the Labor Reform, the STPS had estimated that there were approximately 500,000 collective contracts, However, in a press conference held last week, the head of the agency, Luisa María Alcalde, said that, after purging these, estimate lowered to 139,000.
Willebaldo Gómez, who was an advisor to SINTTIA and is an expert on labor issues, anticipates that by the date set, only about 20,000 collective contracts will have been legitimized, which would be equivalent to 14.3% of the total, and ensures that the collective contracts legitimized up to now correspond to “unions that are alive and are present there”.
According to figures shared by the Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration to Expansionthe number of collective contracts legitimized at the moment correspond to 3,628 unions registered with this labor authority.
For Gómez, the rest, those who have not adhered to the process, “show that belonged to the old model union protectionism”, where the workers were not aware of the contracts they had with the companies.
“A large part of the workers are going to face on May 1st the dilemma of not having a collective contract… One of the pillars of labor human rights is collective contracting, but not having it, being disabled by the environment and moving to an individual contracting regime, would be going against the spirit of the reform itself”, says the specialist .
Among the risks of this scenario, it stands out that in a collective contract the labor authorities are forced to observe the conditions in which people work, as well as making Annual salary increase reviews.