Mexico is considering legislation which will lead to a significant change to labor practices across the country. The plans are opposed by labor unions and some opposition groups.
According to ABC News, the labor reforms, outlined in a legislative bill, aim to reduce the power of labor unions in Mexico. The plans are supported by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, as well as by the out-going administration of the National Action Party (PAN).
The main thrust of the proposals, according to Forbes, is that the reforms will make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers, streamline the settlement of time-consuming labor lawsuits and formally regulate outsourcing. In addition, the new legislation includes mandating that the leadership of unions are elected through ballots. The bill arguably represents the greatest reform of Mexico's job market in over 40 years.
A strong critic of the bill, Lorraine Clewer, who represents the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center in Mexico City, is quoted by the Global Post as saying: “It’s basically a labor flexibility law that will have a deep impact on workers’ economic rights.”
Whilst the bill was being debated, the LA Times recounts that hundreds of demonstrators, made up of workers from across different industries, took to the streets in protest over a bill which they see as pro-business.
The legislation was passed, as noted by the Wall Street Journal, by Mexico's lower house of Congress after a fourteen hour debate, with a vote of 346-60 in favor. The motion to approve was carried at 4 a.m. It is likely that the bill will be approved by the Senate during the course of October 2012.