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Labor deform…

18 June 2013

… the U.S. business media, having decided Brazil is STILL the country of the future (and always will be) has dubbed Mexico the next China.  Which meant scrapping Article 123 of the 1917 Constitution, which made Mexico the first country to define the rights of labor among the rights of citizens.  It wasn’t much, but was a base line… a minimum daily wage enough to feed a family of four, a limit on hours and mandatory rest days and periods during the day, restrictions on child labor, protections for pregnant workers, and the right to strike.  You know, the things that the Chinese DON’T have… and — under the new regime that says we’re supposed to “compete” with the lowest bidder — are considered retro.

Alas, this is the new reality:

se_buscaSeek young graduate.  We offer WORK … temporarily for a “training period” of six months, with any hours we select, with no shift differential for night work, and no holiday pay.  At the end of six months… maybe we’ll talk.  7.47 pesos an hour.

That is not 7.47 DOLLARS, but PESOS.  A bus ride costs 6.50 to 10 pesos, a can of coke is about 9 pesos, a sandwich at Oxxo is 25 to 30 pesos.   Even if a worker puts in 48 hours a week, that’s less than 360 pesos (about 29 DOLLARS) a week.

I’m not a fussy eater, but my grocery bill for two working adults, no kids,  is about twice that.  And there’s rent, utilities, transportation, laundry, etc.  At least workers still get minimal health insurance.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 18 June 2013 11:18 pm

    I once interviewed Bishop Raúl Vera, who challenged anyone saying that $10 (dollars) a day was a middle class wage to do their research while receiving a stipend of that amount. (He offered to help anyone with their research, too.) I’d like to see a Mexico expert take him up on the offer.

  2. Bebe permalink
    19 June 2013 3:55 pm

    I understand the Federal wages system in Mexico: approximately MXN$63 for Zone A and MXN$61 for Zone B per day. So, yes, the hourly wage is unconscionably low. But…how many companies actually pay this amount? Most private licensed companies are small in MX, so how will these reforms really affect them? What do the changes do to the huge informal businesses like street-vendors and mercado stalls? And who is protesting the loudest…the unions? I understand that YoSoy132 is in actuality satirizing not only the Reforms, but anticipating some ads which THEY think may soon appear in Mexico to contravene some labor article of the Mexican Constitution. Still, some of the 2012 Labor Reform changes were seen in recent MX Supreme Court cases, particularly on temp workers and out-sourcing companies. After all, Mexico hasn’t challenged itself to review labor practices for forty years, and much of its labor policy dates from the 1930’s. Is it really acceptable to permit a law that fires a woman because she’s pregnant? MX is just realizing it has an informed (and informing) electorate, so changes will be slow and controversial. Next stop: Pemex and the unions.

    I checked on Wikipedia Spanish version for YoSoy132. I’d never heard of them, which is surprising as I live in LA where one can find many things about Mexico. They’re students from Mexican universities joined by others around the world (OK, the LA presence is a Facebook page). I tried to look at the website, but the domain has expired. The Veracruz url shows where the group is in the MX States- curiously, though to me not surprisingly, they’re not in Sonora. I get the need for anonymity on FB, Twitter, and other social media sites. I certainly wish them well if they are protesting legitimately political, economic, environmental, human rights, and/or political abuses. Still they are students, so we shall see if there is any sustainable interest or power for the group.

    Yeah, I’ve seen the Wall Street Journal all excited and sweaty over the thought of cheaper labor costs in MX than CN. And I will grant you all sorts of tonterias in the US media- left, right, and center. Still, the usual emphasis is not on how to employ MX citizens in their own country, but rather on what fresh hell issues forth from that poor benighted place the US has the misfortune of having on its southern border. As a business owner, I would rather open a location in Mexico than import from China. After all, Mexico is ONLY south of the border from California. Que gran fortuna!

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