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Labour Files Challenge to Mexican Law Reforms

Labour Files Challenge to Mexican Labour Law Reforms

OTTAWA, Feb. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Twenty labour organizations from the Canada, the United States and Mexico (see complete list below) joined together to file a legal challenge to the introduction of sweeping labour law reforms in Mexico. The comprehensive, 20-page petition submitted to the U.S. National Administrative Office (NAO) alleges that the proposed reforms flagrantly violate the labour side agreement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The agreement obligates the three signatory countries to "ensure that (their) labour laws and regulations provide for high labour standards, consistent with high quality and productivity workplaces," and to "continue to strive to improve those standards in that light." The reforms are expected to be submitted to the floor of the legislature for a vote soon. The labour reforms, conceived of by current Labour Minister Carlos Abascal Carranza, greatly weaken core labour rights, such as the right to freedom of association, to organize and bargain collectively and to strike, and create new "flexibilities" that will substantially eliminate overtime pay and lessen job security. The reforms also do nothing to improve many of the laws and practices, previously criticized by the U.S. and Canada NAOs, that violate the worker`s rights protected under the labour side agreement. The trade union petitioners are represented by Jeff Vogt of the Washington Office on Latin America. "The labour reforms are an unparalleled assault on trade union rights and reflect a complete disregard for Mexico's international and domestic legal obligations," said Mr. Vogt. "If Mexico is allowed to repeal those laws that protect workers and replace them with laws that violate the labour side agreement, ILO conventions and the Mexican Constitution, the obligations assumed by the parties under NAFTA would be rendered utterly meaningless." Petitioners are asking the U.S. NAO to undertake an expedited review of the labour law reforms and to recommend that any provisions found to violate the labour side agreement be rescinded.

Participating Unions:

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW), Canadian Energy and Paper Workers' Union (CEP), Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Centrale des Syndicats du Qu?bec (CSQ), Communications Workers of America (CWA), International Association of Machinists (IAM), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), Labour Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers International Union (PACE), Public Service International (PSI), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Syndicat de la fonction publique du Qu?bec (SFPQ), the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (SME), Sindicato Unico de los Trabajadores del Gobierno del Distrito Federal, UNITE-HERE, United Auto Workers of America (UAW), United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), United Steel Workers of America (USWA), and Union Nacional de Trabajadores (UNT) (Mexico's largest federation of independent trade unions). The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 137 district labour councils. Web site:

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