Two weeks after winning Mexico's presidential elections, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has outlined some ideas of what his labor policy could be.
While he has not made any pronouncement as to the implementation of the amendment to Constitutional Article 123, which should have come to light in February 2018 (i.e., the expected reform to the Federal Labor Law, with Labor Courts taking the place of the Conciliation and Arbitration Boards), the President-elect has indicated in various forums his new administration's intent to incentivize the employment of inexperienced youth, reduce government spending while increasing investment (the so-called Republican Austerity Act), and to establish a public-private partnership to fund infrastructure projects.
In his 2018-2024 National Project, also known as “Project 18,” the President-elect has delimited certain labor-related ideas that he intends to implement for Mexico's transformation, including the following:
1. Professional development and job training.
Project 18 proposes to implement a transversal policy on professional development and job training, bringing public and private institutions and social actors together to address the needs of the productive sector and providing employed and unemployed individuals with tools to access the formal job market.
2. Occupational competencies and skills certification program.
By expanding a certification program for individual skills and abilities, the project seeks to assist people without documents from educational institutions to certify their job skills and capacities and thereby improve their access to the job market.
3. Improvement and enhancement of workplace inspections.
The new administration proposes to expand the number of inspectors who enforce the required working conditions, in order to reduce the high level of labor noncompliance, such as the growing number of outsourcing activities, nonregistration of workers before the social security regime, failure to observe the occupational safety and hygiene rules, and the failure to adequately pay the legally mandated employee profit sharing.
The project will also seek to address the problems that exist in terms of coordination among the inspection agencies, such as the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the Tax Administration Service (SAT).
4. New forum for collective bargaining.
The incoming administration proposes to create a new instance to promote and strengthen collective bargaining by industry sector, through productive social dialogue driven by the government in a new constitutional arrangement. Clearly, as part of the upcoming labor reform, the incoming should put an end to the problem of collective bargaining rackets and the unrepresentative union organizations calling strikes to demand the execution of new collective agreements without a real representation of workers.
In our opinion, López Obrador's government will ratify Convention 98 of the International Labor Organization on the right to organize and collective bargaining. We also expect to see the active involvement of NGOs that promote the freedom of association and denounce undemocratic unions within the so called official syndicalism, that for years have been part of the PRI as governing party.
5. Recovery of the minimum wage.
The new administration proposes a gradual recovery of the minimum wage, with annual increases of 15.6% plus inflation, to reach $171.00 pesos per day by the end of the President-elect's six-year term in office.
6. Creation of a digital job placement platform.
Job placement services will be strengthened to match companies with job openings with workers through a digital platform, creating more extensive job networking based on electronic media.
7. Fair labor standards certification.
This certification will publicly recognize enterprises that pay fair wages according to standards determined by a group of academic experts and members of civil society, considering the company's industry or activity, region and size.
This recognition will allow employers to use a distinctive logo in advertising campaigns and on their products. This certification will also be taken into account in the government's procurement procedures and tenders.
8. Dignified inclusion of Mexican migrants.
Strengthening the “Working Repatriates” program to provide sufficient coverage to migrant workers who return to the country, seeking to reach agreements with educational institutions and the manufacturing sector to open opportunities in line with the skills and interests of those who are coming back to work in Mexico.