Oct 2, 2012

Hourly wage in Mexico? Union members express fears of legislation

LATimesBlog: MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's lower house of Congress has passed a major labor-reform law -- the first changes in employment regulations in Mexico since 1970 -- that would alter the way bosses and employees interact before, during and after a job.

For organized workers like Antonieta Torres, a primly dressed 44-year-old government office assistant wearing eyeglasses, the law spells uncertainty.

"It's possible that there could be more jobs, but at miserable wages, with exploitation of workers," Torres said during a large union rally. "It would hurt all of us."

The outgoing administration of President Felipe Calderon, which succeeded in passing the bill with help from the party of incoming President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, said the law would boost job rolls and competition in the labor market.

For union members, the measure -- which is now on its way to Mexico's Senate -- would strip workers of what they called few relative benefits they enjoy under existing regulations, which they argue favor employers and large companies anyway.

The reforms would permit bosses to hire workers for trial periods and to base promotions on productivity, not seniority. The law also would ease the firing process and permits hourly wages, instead of the day-wage of existing law. Read more. 

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