On April 28, 2016, President Enrique Peña Nieto sent to the Senate two bills for amendments to Articles 107 and 123 of the Mexico’s Federal Constitution and for additions to the Federal Labor Law covering: (i) union contract registration and filing requirements, (ii) rules to exercise the right to strike in order to execute a union contract, and (iii) rules on evidence of headcount representation in case of a labor dispute.
The statement of purpose for the bill on amendments to the Mexico’s Federal Constitution acknowledges the imminent need to modernize certain institutions and the labor justice system. The intention is to transform the current Conciliation and Arbitration Boards, both federal and state, into regular courts. If the bill is passed, this will eliminate the concept of special board president, who will become a judge, and the decisions issued by the current labor boards will no longer be called “awards” but rather “rulings and judgments.”
To strengthen the conciliation function contemplated by the 2012 Labor Law Reform, one or more Conciliation Centers will be created, both at federal and state levels, for the purpose of holding mandatory individual conciliation hearings. The federal Conciliation Centers will have jurisdiction on: (i) registration of union contracts and labor organizations, and (ii) other administrative-law actions related to such registrations.
On the other hand, the proposed amendment to the Federal Labor Law seeks to improve the statutory procedure for filing and registering union contracts. It proposes that for the first-time registration of a union contract, documents which are additional to those already contemplated by the present Federal Labor Law should also be filed, among which are: employee payroll, and copy of documents supporting the payment of taxes and employee enrollment in the Mexican Social Security Institute. After receipt of the registration application, the registrar will confirm that the bargain unit is indeed in operation with employees performing permanent and essential services for the employer.
Finally, new rules for filing of headcount representation evidence are added to the Federal Labor Law, as the registrar will have the obligation to obtain and maintain a reliable employee roaster so as to implement a method to identify employees and to ensure that the place where the headcount is to be conducted meets the physical and safety standards required to guarantee a smooth exercise of the right to vote, and that votes are counted in the most transparent and open fashion.
If all the sections of the bills are passed under their Second Transitory Articles, the required legislative changes at federal and state levels, will have to be enacted within one year after the bills become law.
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Mexico City, May 17th 2016.