Juan Manuel Henao has a fascinating piece up on labor reform in Mexico and the return of the PRI:
Mexico’s 62nd Congress had just been inaugurated on September 1 when legislators heard from President Felipe Calderón, who sent a labor bill to the Chamber of Deputies for consideration. Under a new fast-track authority, the executive branch can submit legislation to the lower chamber of the legislative branch, after which the lower and upper chambers have 60 days to debate and vote on the president’s initiative.
Calderón’s labor bill asked members of Congress to modernize Mexico’s 40-year-old labor code, which was enacted at a time when Mexico’s economy and politics were closed; when dependency on international markets and investment was low; and when the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party—PRI) used unions to marshal grassroots support and to line the pockets of elected leaders and union bosses.
The results are ghastly: Mexico’s current labor code makes hiring easy and firing difficult. Disgruntled employees who sue former employers collect damages plus lost salaries during drawn-out court cases that can reach five years in duration. Subcontracting is also difficult, as is holding the boundary between consulting and full-time employment—the latter of which brings in salary and benefits.
Henao looks at how Mexico’s Congress breaks down along party lines, what objections to the bill there are, and what the prospects of the reform’s passage are under PRI president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto are. As they say, check out the whole thing over at Americas Quarterly.