April 3, 2020

Mexico Labor Unions’ Views on the Coronavirus Health Emergency


Mexico Labor Unions’ Views on the Coronavirus Health Emergency

In order to minimize the risks of infection during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, several interviews were conducted with various Mexican union leaders to understand their views on how to maintain jobs and keep the Mexican workforce employed.

The unions interviewed included the following confederations:

CTM
CROM
COM
FOS
INDEPENDENTS

Union leaders recommend that employers, employees and unions enter into negotiations in order to accomplish the most favorable outcomes. In that respect, union leaders recommend that employers do the following:

1.- Communicate directly with their unionized and non-unionized employees to raise awareness and ask for their support on the joint measures that must be taken.

2.- When an active union is involved, the union should convene a second meeting with employees to reinforce the topics discussed between the employer and its employees, and to encourage employees to support the company in the measures that must be taken to ensure the retention of jobs.

3.- Refrain from taking unilateral measures or making unilateral decisions; all decisions should be taken collectively with all personnel, must be in writing and must be signed by all of the parties involved to minimize risks and have a stronger defense in the event of a future claim.

Decisions made with the employees’ consent and agreement are important for preventing radical unions from taking advantage of the opportunity and recruiting employees to join their unions. Some unions are “leafleting” outside of places of employment and providing false information to employees to try and confuse them.

4.- Try, to the greatest extent possible, to maintain the same level of compensation, including wages and benefits. If at any point it is no longer feasible to maintain the same levels of compensation, then with the agreement of employees and the union, seek a mechanism that will guarantee their employees’ continued subsistence.

5.- To the greatest extent possible, treat unionized and non-unionized employees equally. However, any agreements or contracts that are entered into among the employer, union and employees must be documented and signed separately.

6.- Take the following measures with respect to non-unionized employees:
In order to avoid further complications, have employees take their available vacation first.
Have employees who conduct necessary activities and who can work remotely do so on a temporarily basis and pay them their normal wages.
Document such arrangements by means of an agreement or an exhibit to each employee´s individual employment agreement, and not collectively with other employees, in order to avoid collective claims attempting to invalidate the agreement.
For those employees the company cannot continue to pay their normal wages, seek one of the mechanisms listed below, documenting such mechanism in the case of each employee.

7.- Take the following measures with respect to unionized employees:
All agreements must be consensual and in writing, preferably signed by the employer, the union and the employees involved.
If the union is not active yet, then, with the union´s input, form a commission representing the majority of the employees so that such commission may sign the agreement. If this is not possible, execute the agreement and have all employees sign it.
In order to avoid further complications, have employees take their available vacation first.
Seek to enter into an agreement for the temporary modification of current employment relationships, adjusting employees’ work hours and wages, all while respecting the standards ordered by governmental decree, such as not having too many employees present or congregating in the workplace.
Seek to enter into a work stoppage agreement that ensures payment of a percentage of the employees’ wages.

Contact information:

Pablo Sáenz | psaenz@ccn-law.com.mx
Javier Zapata | jzapata@ccn-law.com.mx