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Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chain stores

4 May 2013

Via Guerrilla Comunicacional México  is the story of a investigation by the Mexican business daily El Financiero on retail employment.

Among the companies looked at was one with low wages … always.Walmart Slavery

Walmart offers to pay cashiers  14.67 [$1.23 US] pesos per hour for a 7-hour day (with one hour for lunch ), equivalent to 2,000 pesos a month [$165.50], or a nine hour day for 3,400 pesos [$282.00 US] per month (but with lunch included) *.

In both cases, the retail company gives food voucher and pays social security benefits.  This year, the chain, the largest employer in the country, plans to create 15,000 jobs, most as a result of opening new outlets.

For José Luis de la Cruz, director of research and business economics at  Tecnológico de Monterrey, these jobs not of any benefit to the nation, despite the thousands of positions created, but cannot be considered exploitation or abuse, at least legally, since the employer is complying with the law.

Walmart is hardly the most worst of the chain store employers. El Financiero found that employees at chains like Oxxo, KFC, El Globo and others generally earn between 2000 and 3000 pesos a month, and work nine or ten hour shifts. Most at least provide the minimal legal venefits (including Social Security, which in Mexico includes basic health insurance), but at least one of the majors, Electra, has a 13 hour workday (although there is a two hour dinner break) and provides no benefits for the first five months of employment, “thanks” to new laws making it legal to pay new hires less during a “probationary period”.

Jorge de Presno, of the law firm of Basham, Ringe y Correa, said that in general the IMSS payments (the Social Security national health progam) and legal benefits are something that should not be subject to probationary periods, and the work day is not supposed to exceed 8 hours during daylight hours, 7.5 hours during a “mixed shift”, or 7 hours on a night shift.

He added that workers may exceed these limits, but not more than 48 hours on a day shift, 45 on a “mixed shift” and 42 hours on a night shift.

A worker may work up to 10 hours four days a week, and eight hours on a fifth day… if they have two days off.

“To answer your question, ‘is a work day of over ten hours legal?’, the answer is yes, but only under the condition that it benefits the worker,” he said.

* I won’t discuss my personal finances here, but I will say that this is about what I pay just for rent on a two bedroom house in a lower-middle class neighborhood, in one of the lower-cost regions of the country… not including utilities.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jose permalink
    5 May 2013 7:24 pm

    I personally know people that work at walmart that make no more than 8.75 an hour here in Texas. So, 14.67 an hour is not bad for a cashiers position. Man, its a shame how they can just knock off Sorianna and Gigante the way they did.

    • 5 May 2013 10:25 pm

      Uh, that’s 14.67 PESOS, or about a dollar and twenty-three cents US, which means a Mexican cashier is only getting 8 percent of what the Texas cashier earns, Although Walmart pays the costs for the limited national health insurance, and some costs of living are much lower, overall (though food prices are almost the same). Even if the Mexican cost of living is only a third that of Texas, the Mexican cashier would need to earn 60 pesos an hour to enjoy the same standard of living.

      • Jose permalink
        6 May 2013 7:55 pm

        My mistake, I read it wrong…One thing is for sure though,that it sucks working for walmart on both sides of the border. Unless of course you are high up on the corporate ladder.

  2. Andy Brown permalink
    22 January 2014 2:11 pm

    Hi.Richard. I live the title, which I see George Monbiot has also borrowed! Is it your quote or is there some other attribution (apart from Rousseau, of course?)

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