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Public wage cuts to spark wave of ‘amparo’ appeals
This measure could affect around 35,000 public officials that currently earn more than 108 thousand, specially those working in the judicial branch, Pemex, and the Ministry of Finance - Lucía Godínez/EL UNIVERSAL

Public wage cuts to spark wave of ‘amparo’ appeals

20/07/2018
19:24
Rubén Migueles
Mexico City
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Legal experts predict that AMLO's austerity measures will cause high officials to file 'amparo' appeals

Legal experts predict that Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s proposal to cut salaries and benefits of high officials in the public sector is likely to generate a wave of “amparo” appeals.

According to the Law Library of Congress, the “amparo” is a Mexican legal concept which may be filed in federal court, both by Mexicans and foreigners, and is often referred to as a “constitutional protection lawsuit.” It may be used as a defense of the individual guarantees provided in the Constitution, or for protection against unconstitutional laws, among other things. As optimal as they may sound, “amparos” are often used by legal defenses to delay legal or administrative proceedings indefinitely.

Mexico’s president-elect recently announced that he would give up 60% of his salary as soon as he took office, earning roughly 108,000 pesos (USD$5677) a month, and that no public servant would be allowed to earn more than him.

This measure could affect around 35,000 public officials that currently earn more than 108 thousand, specially those working in the judicial branch, Pemex, and the Ministry of Finance.

Patricia Juan Pineda, employment rights adviser and consultant, explained that high level officers might resort to “amparo” appeals in face of the wage cuts; however, she added that autonomous instances are where the most appeals are likely to appear, given their nature and working structure.

The possibility of an appeal wave has been foreseen by members of the future presidential cabinet. “We are aware of this, and some of the appeals might even be legally appropriate, but Andrés Manuel López Obrador has stated that, should these high officials choose to be part of his presidential administration, they will have to submit to republican austerity. This is one of his main priorities,” stated Olga Sánchez Cordero, soon-to-be Interior Minister, in an interview with the multimedia company Grupo Fórmula.

The most emblematic cases are those of the federal judiciary advisers, the ministers of the Supreme Court, and judges from the Supreme Chamber of the Electoral Tribunal ofJustice of the Mexican Federation (TEPJF), who perceive wages 95% higher than that of Mexico’s current president Enrique Peña Nieto, according to the Expenditure Budget of 2018.

The fact that the ministers of the Supreme Court make that much money and have so many privileges is outrageous. Naturally, they will be the first to try to protect themselves,” the adviser commented.

“We are yet to see how members of the judicial branch will react to this new landscape. They are perfectly within their rights to make an appeal and throw tantrums for as long as they like,” she added.

There are also representatives from other autonomous instances, such as the Federal Institute of Telecommunications, the Federal Economic Competition Commission, and the National Institute for Education Assessment. Some of the federal administration dependencies will also be affected, such as Pemex and the Ministry of Finance, where wages for high officers are way above the future president’s projected salary.
 

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