Despite challenges, Mexico ranks second-best in Latin America.
BY DAVID AGREN
MEXICO CITY – Mexican lawmakers discussed wide-ranging labor reforms earlier this year that would have included easing onerous hiring and firing rules, regulated outsourcing and allowed for part-time employment. The opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which controls the lower house of Congress, then abandoned the plans in April on the eve of key elections in Mexico state. Labor Secretary Javier Lozano subsequently quipped that 332 attempts to reform Mexico’s labor laws have been made over the past 12 years. All failed.
Reforming labor laws provokes polemic debates in Mexico, where demands for better working conditions drove many who took up arms in the Revolution of 1910 and unions became pillars in the PRI’s corporatist political system.
“Our labor laws are antiquate,” says Manuel Molano, deputy director of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness.
Still, the Mexican labor market compares favorably with many other countries in Latin America, ranking second on the second annual Latin Labor Index from Latin Business Chronicle.
The index looks at 18 factors that determine overall labor conditions in 18 countries in Latin America. They include:
Fixed term contract flexibility
Payments and restrictions for night and holiday work
Paid annual leave
Regulations and payments for redundancy
Flexibility of wage determination
Cooperation in labor-employer relations
It also includes education (mean and expected years of schooling) and a health factor such as life expectancy at birth.
All in all, only five countries improved their score, while most – 13 -- deteriorated.
The countries that improved include...