Labor unions, a huge challenge

With the arrival of a leftist government, changes in the syndicate life are expected

Labor unions, a huge challenge
Workers hsould have the freedom to choose their leaders freely – Photo: Henry Romero/REUTERS
English 18/02/2019 09:31 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:37
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The democratization process in Mexico has taken place gradually. One of its culminating points took place in 1997, which for many experts it was be beginning of a change in the country's political life, when for the first time, the PRI lost the majority in Congress.

Throughout the last 22 years, several developments have taken place in regards to democracy, transparency, and citizen participation. The changes have taken place in every sphere in public life, except one: labor unions.

In regards to labor unions, the country is almost the same way it was 100 years ago when the Mexican Workers Confederation was formed, a workers' organization with political power that approved government measures with its condescending attitude, even when they weren't beneficial for the working class.

With the arrival of a leftist government, changes in the syndicate life are expected. President López Obrador has said he will push for democratization.

Today in these pages, officials who are in charge of executing the policies in regards to labor matters explain the path the policy will take.

In a forum organized by EL UNIVERSAL, the head and the undersecretaries of the Labor and Social Security Ministry said that it's not enough that the law establishes a free and secret vote, but that it's also necessary that the authority monitors all the previous and later processes in a labor union election to guarantee that it is democratic.

Now that syndicate confederations led by people linked to the party in power are emerging, the Labor Minister didn't rule resistance out but she affirmed that there will have to be reliable voters lists and no unorganized elections. “The change is in regards to labor union freedom.”

There are many obstacles that are preventing the effective transformation of working and union life: the 2017 labor reform is unfinished and there is backwardness, for example, in the resolution of legal disputes between workers and businesses.

Nevertheless, the chiefdoms inside labor unions are, perhaps, the biggest problem. Through pressure and corporate control, the workers are subjected to the orders of the leaders. Freedom for the workers to come together and establish a different organization has been limited and hampered, even by the authority. If the working class doesn't have the government's support to exercise their rights without retaliation, they hope for change will vanish.

Labor justice and democracy are the pending issues that Mexico needs to solve. This presidential term could be the last chance to achieve this.


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