Improving Working Conditions in the Mexican Automotive Supply Chain
The Improving Working Conditions in the Mexican Automotive Supply Chain project is working to improve the quality of inspections and inspection follow-ups conducted by labor inspectors; strengthen government administration and coordination of the labor inspectorate and other institutions involved in labor law enforcement; and strengthen the ability of labor courts and other institutions to effectively conciliate and adjudicate labor cases, including administration and coordination of union representation challenges.
In February 2017, Mexico adopted constitutional labor justice reforms to establish a new labor justice system. The reforms abolished the conciliation and arbitration boards (CABs) and created new institutions to absorb the CABs’ responsibilities, including new federal and state labor courts, local conciliation bodies, and an independent Centro Federal de Conciliación y Registro Laboral (FCCLR). On May 1, 2019, the Mexican government amended the Federal Labor Law (FLL) to enact the secondary legislation for these reforms and embarked on an ambitious four-year implementation plan. Implementation of Mexico’s labor justice reforms unfolds against the backdrop of pending ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which contains extensive labor obligations and includes labor chapter Annex 23-A, requiring Mexico to adopt and maintain enumerated concrete measures “necessary for the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.” Mexico faces significant challenges in establishing the new labor justice system, however, especially in the current resource-constrained environment facing government agencies under President López Obrador’s austerity measures.
The project approach is to work with Ministry of Labor, new conciliation centers, new federal labor courts, as well as other stakeholders, to implement multi-pronged, data-driven activities that target challenges related to working conditions and workers’ rights in the auto parts sector. There will be specific focus on sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination and violations of workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, in particular through widespread use of abusive subcontracting, anti-union retaliation, and endemic protection contracts.