The year that is about to end again had major issues on the labor agenda of the government and companies. From the telework reform to outsourcing, through the implementation of programs to guarantee access to social security and respect for labor rights, the policies implemented by the current administration had an impact on the world of work.
Consulted by The Economist, specialists, legislators and officials identified key figures who intensified the fight for the rights of workers and who promoted, negotiated and implemented the changes in labor matters throughout 2021.
1. Marcelina Bautista Bautista
Collegiate leader of the National Union of Domestic Workers (Sinactraho)
The struggle for the labor human rights of the domestic workers in Mexico it simply cannot be understood without going through the story of Marcelina Bautista. When employers, society, the laws and the entire system told her over and over again, one way or another, that women like her had no rights, that they were not equal, she doubted him first and challenged him later.
In 1980, at the age of 14, she came to Mexico City to work in a house and take care of an entire family. In 2000, she founded the Center for Support and Training for Household Employees (CACEH). From 2006 to 2012 she was Secretary General of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Domestic Workers (Conlactraho) and in 2005 she co-founded the National Union of Domestic Workers (Synactraho).
The movement that she has guided and the leaderships that she has formed achieved in 2019 a pilot program of affiliation in the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), a historic reform to the Federal Labor Law (LFT) to recognize their rights and ratification of Convention 189 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) after eight years of having been adopted.
This year the activist was recognized by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential and inspiring women By 2021, the recognition is in addition to many other national and international awards. This year not even a pandemic could paralyze it, on the contrary. In his daily agenda the same is an interview with the media, a presentation to demand compliance with the rights already established in the laws or the care and rescue of some of his companions.
2. José Fernando Franco González Salas
Minister in retirement of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation
The 2019 labor reform laid the foundations for a new model of labor justice that aims to have a system that guarantees quick and expeditious solutions, without a litigation industry that for years opted for lengthy trials to the detriment of workers.
The construction of this new conflict resolution system would not have the progress it has shown without the participation of José Fernando Franco, who this year ended his post as Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN). Before reaching the highest court in the country, he held various positions in the public service such as the Undersecretariat of Labor, Security and Social Welfare of the STPS, the General Secretariat of the Chamber of Deputies and the Presidency of the Federal Electoral Tribunal.
The minister was responsible for the transition of the Judiciary to the new model of justice for the world of work with which the labor courts. He held meetings almost once a week with the reform implementation team with openness to listen and careful analysis. He was involved from the planning of the implementation process to its evaluation.
Today the labor dispute resolution mechanism It operates in 63% of the national territory and the following year will conclude the transition to this model, which replaces the Conciliation and Arbitration boards with conciliation centers and specialized courts at both the federal and local levels.
3. Susana Prieto Terrazas
Leader of the 20/32 Movement and federal deputy for Morena
2021 was the year he came to Congress. Although the goal was not the Chamber of Deputies, its path began in 2015 with the maquilas in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, continued in those in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and now it is going through the defense of labor rights in other parts of the country, as she herself has warned.
In the workplace, the lawyer Susana Prieto Terrazas causes people to raise their eyebrows in amazement, coincidence and rejection, her presence or her mention is never neutral. In his native Ciudad Juárez he defended workers of transnational companies, whose rights were constantly violated. He not only litigated in conciliation boards and courts, but also called sit-ins and demonstrations, exerted pressure as he could, and almost always won.
That same form of struggle led her to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, but there she encountered the power of the Mexican Workers Confederation (CTM) and the government of Francisco Cabeza de Vaca, accused of organized crime and money laundering. The outbreak of a massive strike in at least 28 maquiladoras demanding an increase to the minimum wage approved for that year, 2019, and the payment of a 32,000-peso bonus led to Movement 20/32.
It also caused the Cabeza de Vaca government to imprison her, the US embassy to intervene to request her release, and the unions in that country to request their labor authorities to file a complaint against the Tridonex company, through the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada. (T-MEC) for violations of the syndical freedom.
In less than two years the movement became the National Independent Union of Industry and Service Workers (SNITIS). And now he has sued before the Federal Board of Conciliation and Arbitration the ownership of the CCT of Tridonex in the hands of the CTM.
4. Alejandro Salafranca Vázquez
Head of the Dignified Work Unit of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security
The outsourcing reform It was one of the most relevant topics on the labor agenda this year and Alejandro Salafranca Vázquez was a key piece to materialize it from its discussion to its implementation.
Salafranca Vázquez is an anthropologist from the National School of Anthropology and History of Mexico and is a career public servant with a career that has led him to occupy positions such as the Management Evaluation Directorate in the Comptroller General of the Government of the Federal District, the National Coordination of Institutional Development of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the Directorate of Digital Strategy of the Ministry of Culture.
The office under his charge is in charge of carrying out the labor inspections To guarantee decent working conditions and as a result of the changes to the subcontracting scheme, it manages the Registry of Specialized Service Providers or Specialized Works (Repse).
Sources within the government and the business sector confirmed their active participation in the construction of the reform that prohibited the outsourcing based on the supply of personnel in their current terms and their willingness to support companies in clarifying doubts and complying with new legal provisions.
5. Norma Gabriela López Castañeda
Director of Incorporation and Collection of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS)
The first half of this federal administration has been marked by changes in the world of work. And as regards the access to social security of working people, Norma Gabriela López Castañeda has played a key role.
The Director of Incorporation and Collection of the IMSS has been the main promoter of the pilot programs of affiliation for domestic workers Y independent workers. Furthermore, its participation in the new subcontracting scheme has also been remarkable.
The official is a lawyer from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and a master’s degree in Tax Law at the Universidad Panamericana. He has a certification in international tax from New York University (NYU). For 11 years she served as a civil servant in various positions at the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP).
IN 2014 he entered the IMSS. In 2018 she was appointed head of the Directorate of Incorporation and Collection, from where she has launched the first and second phases of the test to incorporate domestic workers since 2019. This year the pilot for independent workers began, including those who work on digital platforms.
The IMSS affiliation system It was designed practically for only one type of salaried people, he pointed out to this medium, and it left out a good part of the population and has prevented the new forms of work from being benefited. That is why, prior to a legislation that protects them, the institute has created programs on a trial basis, anticipating legal reforms, as stated.
6. Lorenzo Roel Hernández
President of the Labor Commission of the Business Coordinating Council
One of the most relevant points of the outsourcing reform is that it was a tripartite agreement, that is, the modifications were the result of the negotiations that were carried out for months between the government, union representatives and business leaders. In this context, Lorenzo Roel is a prominent character during 2021.
He is a teacher in Labor Law from the Escuela Libre de Derecho and has more than 36 years of experience as an employer advisor in Labor Law. He is a managing partner of the firm Roel Abogados and chairs the Labor Law Commission of the Illustrious and National Bar Association of Mexico (INCAM).
Lorenzo Roel was present at practically all the dialogue tables to address the distortion that the subcontracting reform would cause in the payment of the profit sharing (PTU), space in which it was key to stop the distribution of profits and, consequently, that the business sector agreed to move forward with the legal changes.