Key amendments Comment

On February 24 2017 the decree amending several provisions of the Constitution with regard to labour justice, freedom of association and collective bargaining was finally published in the Federal Official Gazette. The decree was announced in a presidential bill almost one year ago and underwent comprehensive debate by Congress.

Key amendments

Conciliation and arbitration boards The conciliation and arbitration boards formed by worker representatives, employers and the government will be abolished. Instead, conflicts between workers and employers will be resolved at the judiciary level by the federal and state labour courts. Court members must be proficient and experienced in labour matters. They will be appointed by the Federal Judiciary Council at the federal level and in accordance with the Constitution and other legislation at the local level.

Conciliation centres Conciliation centres will be created at the state level to accommodate conciliatory hearings, which will be mandatory before a trial commences before the labour courts.

New federal agency At the federal level, the conciliatory function will be performed by a decentralised government agency whose integration and operation has yet to be determined by law. This federal agency will also be responsible for the registration of collective bargaining agreements and trade union organisations, as well as all associated administrative processes.

The head of the federal agency will be elected from a pool of three candidates proposed by the president. He or she must be elected by a minimum of two-thirds of the Senate and will have a six-year tenure, with the opportunity to be re-elected once.

The head of the federal agency must have proficiency and expertise in labour matters and a good reputation. Further, he or she must not have:

  • held a position in any political party;
  • been a candidate in a public election in the three years before his or her appointment; or
  • been convicted of a felony.

Collective bargaining Changes have been introduced which aim to strengthen the right to undertake collective bargaining and the principles of representation by trade union organisations and certainty in the execution, registration and filing of collective bargaining agreements.

When the objective of a strike is to execute a collective bargaining agreement, the union must demonstrate that it represents the workers. This measure aims to eradicate strike notices made by 'phantom' unions and prevent extortion practices against employers.

The Constitution now expressly provides that workers' votes for the resolution of conflicts between unions, requests to execute collective bargaining agreements and the election of trade union leaders will be personal, free and secret. This measure aims to eliminate the use of "collective bargaining agreements for protection purposes" and encourage workers to participate actively and openly in the bargaining process.

Registration of collective bargaining agreements and trade union organisations The abovementioned decentralised federal agency will have exclusive jurisdiction over the registration of collective bargaining agreements and trade union organisations, as well as all associated administrative processes.

Comment

The amendments took effect the day after their publication in the Federal Official Gazette. However, legislative adjustments must be made at both the federal and state level within one year from the date on which the decree became effective in order to regulate and implement the changes. As such, significant amendments to the Federal Labour Law and the enactment of secondary legislation on procedural labour matters are expected. Further, within this one-year period, the president must propose to the Senate the three candidates for head of the decentralised federal agency.

Until the new labour courts, conciliation centres and decentralised federal agency are established and in operation, the conciliation and arbitration boards and – where appropriate – the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare will continue to deal with labour disputes and the registration of collective bargaining agreements and trade union organisations.

Matters that are pending before the conciliation and arbitration boards when the new labour courts begin to operate will be resolved in accordance with the provisions applicable at the time of their commencement. The conciliation and arbitration boards must transfer proceedings and files regarding the registration of collective bargaining agreements and trade unions to the new labour courts or the decentralised federal agency.

For further information on this topic please contact Nadia Gonzalez Elizondo at Santamarina y Steta by telephone (+52 81 8133 6000) or email (ngonzalez@s-s.mx). The Santamarina y Steta website can be accessed at www.s-s.mx.

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