28 sep 12: Mexico labour reform: watered down, but still a positive: Financial Times


Bienvenidos tus comentarios al reporte de Financial Times sobre la aprobación de la reforma propuesta por el Presidente Calderón. El diario señala que a pesar de las protestas de legisladores de izquierda y manifestantes en las calles, la mayoría de los inversionistas extranjeros probablemente se sientan alentados aunque sea con esta reforma diluída.

Financial Times, by Ron Buchanan

Despite a clamour of protests by leftwing legislators and street protesters, most foreign investors are likely to be heartened by Felipe Calderón’s undoubtedly diluted labour reform in Mexico.

So said Rogelio Ramírez de la O, who was the chief adviser in economics to none other than Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the left’s defeated candidate in the recent presidential election.

Calderón’s reform was backed by his successor, Enrique Peña Nieto, whose election was hotly contested by López Obrador.

Ramírez is also a descendant of Genovevo de la O, the right-hand man of Emiliano Zapata, the left’s hero of the Mexican Revolution.

“Foreign investors will be encouraged by the reform and the prospect of a series of other reforms in areas such as taxes and energy that Peña Nieto has promised,” said Ramírez, who has a Cambridge doctorate and is head of the Ecanal business consultancy.

Not that Ramírez is a fan of Peña Nieto. However, “the enthusiasm over the prospects for the Mexican economy is likely to be continued for at least two years,” said Ramírez, despite the increasingly gloomy view that he takes of the future of the US economy, on which Mexico heavily depends.

Calderon and his predecessor, Vicente Fox, also of the center-right National Action Party, or PAN, had a dismal record in trying to launch major reforms in an economy that many regard as stable but stuck. “However, Peña Nieto is much smarter than Calderón,” said Ramírez.

For the last 10 years or so, growth has creeped along about an average of about 2 per cent a year — scarcely in tandem with the population — largely because of the 6 percent negative slump in 2009.

“By contrast Brazil did have real growth but it has declined sharply,” said Ramírez. People in business focus on growth and now at last it’s happening in Mexico, even though it’s very fragile.”

The bill partly relaxes Mexico’s extremely rigid labour laws, which is sure to be welcomed by foreign investors. But the power of the leaders of the major unions will only very slightly be watered down.

The left, and many members of the Peña Nieto’s PRI who are beholden to the old-style labor unions in such key areas as energy and education, blocked transparency in proposals such as secret ballots.

However, a majority of Mexican workers these days no longer belong to the organized labor movement. Many form part of the growing informal economy and are indifferent to labor laws of any sort.

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