In the USMCA’s Implementation Act, the US Government created the Independent Mexico Labour Expert Board (IMLEB), for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating the implementation of Mexico’s labour reform and compliance with its labour obligations. On 15 December 2020, the IMLEB issued its first evaluation report on Mexico. In response to this report, the Mexican Government issued an action guide to provide help to employers and employees.
As a result of the signing of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) that came into effect on 1 July 2020, a necessity arose to make substantial changes in labour matters in order to adapt to the terms of the Agreement.
While the IMLEB’s evaluation report was, in part, critical of Mexico’s efforts on the implementation of the labour reform, it did acknowledge that Mexico has made significant progress on the 1 May 2019 labour law reform, especially taking into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IMLEB identified some topics where Mexico has yet to evidence substantial changes, specifically in terms of union democracy, freedom of association and collective bargaining, which remain to be implemented.
The report listed some recommendations, such as focusing the implementation on the USMCA’s priority sectors. The Mexican government has previously shown that the stages of implementation can be modified. The report suggested that the US government should encourage a reordering of the Mexican states, in order for the revised implementation schedule to be closely aligned with the intent of Annex 23-A. Specifically, the states with priority industries such as: plastics, glass, concrete, steel, aluminum, forgings, auto parts, aerospace products, etc.
Another important recommendation was to emphasise the reform to the legitimation process; they suggested to pressure Mexico to modify the Protocol for legitimation of existing CBAs to 1) organise legitimation votes by sector, following a schedule determined by the government and providing meaningful education about the process and options to workers in that sector in advance; 2) require that legitimation votes be supervised by government representatives with the authority to investigate and correct violations; and 3) create a secure procedure for workers to report violations.
In response to the IMLEB’s report, on 17 February 2021, Mexico’s Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare published an action guide to legitimise CBAs. This guide was issued to support employers and employees in the legitimation processes, explaining, step-by-step, the whole process.
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