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Mexico lower house gives preliminary approval to labor reform bill

Mexico's Chamber of Deputies [official website, in Spanish] expressed initial approval Friday for a labor reform bill that seeks to improve the transparency of Mexico's trade unions and make labor regulations more flexible. The bill was a bipartisan effort between the conservative outgoing National Action Party (PAN) and the more liberal incoming Institutional Revolution Party (PRI) [party websites, in Spanish]. The bill streamlines labor disputes [Reuters report] and makes it easier for employers to hire and fire workers. Legislators stripped the bill of some anti-union measures including a provision that would mandate that union members receive information on how their organization's money is spent and a section that would make the election of union membership secret and direct. If the Chamber of Deputies formally approves the labor reform bill, it will go to the Mexican Senate [official website, in Spanish], which will have 30 days to pass or reject it.

Earlier this month outgoing President Felipe Calderon [official website, in Spanish] introduced the labor reform bill [JURIST report]. The bill was introduced [Reuters report] in the Congress of Mexico by Interior Minister Alejandro Poires. Lawmakers from both the PAN and PRI have shown support for the legislation. Incoming president Enrique Pena Nieto [campaign website] of the Institutional Revolutionary Party has pledged to back the legislation. Calderon is seeking to fast track the legislation before he leaves office in November.

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