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David Foust Rodríguez, Luis Ignacio Román Morales

Significant implications of labor reform in Mexico for the economy and the furthering of enabling rights

For the past two years, the institutional framework of labor relations has undergone significant changes, in particular with regard to labor rights. Some of the more relevant changes are the implementation of a policy for the recovery of minimum wages, ratification of ILO Convention 98 and a comprehensive labor reform. The approved bill establishes legal provisions to further the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining; shifts the judicial process of labor rights from the executive to the judicial power and provides social protection for agricultural day laborers and domestic workers. To which extent can this labor reform actually modify labor relations in Mexico? Will the workers be able to exercise their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining without fear of reprisals? What are the main obstacles to the full implementation of these reforms and policies and how can government and other main stakeholders act to alter the status quo? To which extent does this labor reform fall short in terms of furthering enabling rights for workers? What are the main issues of the agenda for workers, employers and for the government? Based upon an analysis of the legal and economic implications of the labor reform and on the analysis of a recent labor movement in Matamoros, we present a theoretical discussion and the outline for further research. This article is intended as a contribution to the interdisciplinary analysis aiming for a more equitable society that gives spaces for social dialogue and the exercise of labor rights. Key words: labor rights, labor reform, labor relations in Mexico.