By RICARDO CASTILLO
Businesses Hit the Outsourcing Panic Button
The start of an Open Parliament to discuss Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) proposed reform of outsourcing practices forced the leading business organization representatives to call for an emergency meeting with him that very same day. The president received the businessmen at the National Palace.
Given the positioning of the majority of political parties, the bill is clearly heading for a fast-track approval, possibly as soon as Thursday, Nov. 26.
What will the new bill include? Here is a brief summary of objectives:
It will ban the practice of contracting personnel by one company to work for a different one.
It will allow the outsourcing of specialized personnel as an exception.
Employers who hire specialized workers from a subcontractor will have to cover the social security benefits of those workers.
Specialty outsourcing companies will have to wield a specific three-year renewable permit from the Labor Secretariat in order to be able to operate under a special registration program.
Employment agencies may participate in outsourcing, but only for the hiring process and will not be considered “the employer” in contracts.
Any breaches of these new laws can lead to fines ranging from 175,000 pesos to 4.4 million pesos.
Payments for subcontracting personnel will not be deductible. Irregularities will be considered as tax evasion and fraud.
If passed, the reform will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Once it does, the Labor Secretariat will emit a list of regulatory norms and once those rules are published outsourcing companies, will have six months to register and start operating under the new rules.
At the opening of the Open Parliament, the president of the Chamber of Deputies’ Junta of Political Coordination, Ignacio Mier Velazco, said that there are 70 speakers slated top participate, representing the interests of “entrepreneurs, workers and government.”
Buen Fin Did Fine
Mexican Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco) Director Ricardo Sheffield said the Buen Fin (Good Weekend) sales this year were a boost to overall retails figures over the entire year.
“We closed with good figures, although this remains to be confirmed by the Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce (Concanaco), and sales this year were higher than in the 2019 Buen Fin,” he said..
Sheffield went on to say that, according to preliminary research, “buyers went to stores with the clear intention of buying.”
Most complaints about the Buen Fin, which is Mexico’s answer to the U.S. Black Friday super sale, had to do with noncompliance of promised discounts, with Walmart leading the pack with a 49 percent increase of complaints compared to last year, Sheffield said.
The stores offering the best discounts were Sears and Liverpool, he said.
No Secret Deal on Cienfuegos
AMLO flatly denied Monday, Nov. 23, allegations made by the international news agency Reuters that there had been a “secret deal” made between Mexico and the United States for the release of former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos for an unnamed top drug kingpin operating in Mexico.
“The news agencies (he mentioned Reuters by name) were wrong because they insinuated the United States was sending General Cienfuegos so that we would send it the chief of an organized criminal gang,” AMLO said.
“It’s hard to know what they (the news agencies) were thinking or who leaked that information.”
Robles Agrees to Cooperate
After more than a year in detention of his client, lawyer Epigmenio Mendieta announced that former Mexican Secretary of Social Development (Sedesol) Rosario Robles Berlanga was willing to become “a collaborating witness” for the government in its case to disentangle the makings of billions of pesos in a defrauding scheme known as the “Master Fraud.”
Mendieta said his client “is ill and she’s facing alone a trial of this nature, which looks more complicated as days go by.”
“She has no support from the politicians who accompanied her at the moment and now what she has to do is make the decision to collaborate with authorities so that she can recover her freedom at some moment point in time,” he said.
Up until now, Robles had refused to share any information with Mexican authorities, but that has apparently changed.
Her next court appearance is set for Dec. 8.
The Debate over the Fiscal Pact
Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Joaquín González was elected on Saturday, Nov. 21, in Cancun to represent the nine-member association of the National Action Party Governors (GOAN).
On being sworn in, González picked up the cause the GOAN governors have been pushing and that is bringing the federal government down to negotiating a new fiscal agreement that will better redistribute national resources.
Immediately after the election, Treasury Secretary Arturo Herrera Gutiérrez agreed to negotiate with the opposition party governors, but said that “the discussion will have to wait until after the coming electoral period so as not to have electioneering politics sidetrack the issue.”
Herrera said that during a conversation on the fiscal pact organized by the Colegio de México, the federal budget model had to be revamped so as to not have the government depend so much, as it has in the past, on oil revenues.
“This is going to be a busy electoral year because it includes 15 races for governor, so the discussion on fiscal reform will be permeated by politics,” he said.
Mexico holds midterm elections in June 2021.
Herrera said he agreed that financial resources are not being fairly distributed, but also pointed to huge economic differences between some states, such as Mexico City and Nuevo Leon, which have a higher per capita income, to others, such as Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas.
“With its current annual growth, it will take Oaxaca, for example, 180 years to accomplish a gross internal product comparable to the one that Nuevo León has.”
…Nov. 25, 2020