Mexico: Labour Reform at Risk due to Pandemic?
The Labour Reform, approved on May 1, 2019, has an implementation schedule that involves an important transformation that also responds to international agreements; it will be closely watched by the United States, in particular; therefore, the health emergency caused by COVID-19 will not affect this process, stated founding partner of the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas S.C. Firm, Óscar de la Vega.
“There is a complete program in place, it will have to be complied with due to the national and international commitments that have been made”, he underlined.
In this sense, the lawyer, an expert on labour matters, stressed that it is not necessary to reform the LFT [Federal Labour Law] once more, as proposed by the Morena legislators, and he explained that Mexican legislation already covers the concepts involved in the situation that we are living.
“According to Article 427, Section Seven, both fortuitous and force majeure events and, in particular, a pandemic, are non-attributable events; they are not the fault of companies or workers and, therefore, are cause for the collective suspension of labor relations”.
He pointed out that on March 31, 2020, the Department of Health announced the suspension of activities due to the health contingency related to COVID-19 and, even though the STPS [Department of Labor and Social Welfare] assures that the work stoppage is not official, it is enough support for companies to comply only with the compensation established by Article 429 of the law in question.
“It is not congruent that, if the cause is beyond the control of the employer, he is placed under the obligation of paying salaries for the duration of the suspension, as this suspension is not attributable to the employer, it is a suspension caused by an event of nature, a fortuitous event”.
Nevertheless, he acknowledged that companies and labor relationships will be deeply affected by the pandemic, which will entail processes for the renegotiation of working conditions.
He called for a social pact to agree on a national framework and thus guarantee that all parties benefit from it:
1. workers must sacrify their incomes with the objective of keeping their jobs.
2. unions must amend and make their collective bargaining agreements more flexible.
3. companies will have to contribute, as part of
4. the government will have to contribute in assuming the cost of the crisis, together with employers
“It is a program of such magnitude, that it requires the cooperation or collaboration of the different parties”, “it isn’t possible to unload the problem unto the employers or that the government decides that it is the employers’ problem and employers are forced to cover the cost of the crisis, it is totally incorrect, as it is also illegal”, he emphasized.
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