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14 clothing brands express support for reform of Mexico’s labour justice system

16 August, 201714 international clothing brands have written to the Mexican government declaring their support for constitutional reform of the labour justice system and for secondary legislation to fully reflect the constitutional changes.

Adidas, C&A, Inditex and Nike are among the brands wrote to Mexico’s Secretary for Labour and Social Security, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, to call for improvements to the labour justice system and guarantees for workers' rights.

The constitutional reform abolishes the tripartite conciliation and arbitration boards (JFCAs) and transfers their legal role to a Higher Court of Justice (Tribunal Superior de Justicia). This means that the labour justice system will no longer be directly controlled by the President of the Republic, complicit state governors and employer-dominated trade unions.

The independent and decentralized institution will be composed of experts who will register trade unions and collective agreements impartially, transparently and efficiently. This reform will help to combat one of the main problems faced by workers in Mexico –“protection contracts”.

At the moment, the JFCAs allow the registration of collective agreements by unrepresentative trade unions that cannot demonstrate through a democratic process the legitimate support of the workers they intend to represent.

The clothing brands support compliance with internationally recognized core labour standards and the Federal Labour Law. The reform will pave the way for workers to better enjoy their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, as protected under ILO Conventions 87 and 98, and for a stronger labour justice system.

“We are hopeful that the new legislation will guarantee Mexican workers the right to be represented in collective bargaining by a union of their free choice and where all procedural rules particularly the right to democratically elect the union and union representatives of their choice and to vote on any collective bargaining agreement before it is registered are observed and respected,”

said the letter.

The joint letter is an initiative of the Mexico Committee, a multi-stakeholder forum that includes international apparel brands that source and/or manufacture clothing and footwear products in Mexico, the FLA, the international organization IndustriALL Global Union, and the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN).

The Senate approved the constitutional reform in October 2016. The decree setting out the reform of various provisions of the Constitution was published in the Federal Official Gazette on 24 February. In one year from this date, the federal government will fully promulgate the constitution changes, when it will have completed drafting the necessary secondary legislation.

“Pressure must therefore be applied to ensure that the secondary legislation fully reflects the progress made by this constitutional reform,”

said Fernando Lopes, director at IndustriALL Global Union.