With nearly 350,000 jobs lost in the last month due to coronavirus, the Mexican Employers Federation is urging President López Obrador to take measures to help keep businesses afloat during the health crisis.
This appeal comes at the same time that Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum warned businesses in the capital city that if they fire workers in response to the crisis, there may be consequences.
“If a large company that has the possibility of paying its workers and is laying off its workers, we could consider, for example, that they will no longer be able to operate these businesses in Mexico City because we can implement a scenario where only socially responsible companies can operate in Mexico City,” said Sheinbaum.
Gustavo de Hoyos, president of the Employers Federation, pleaded with the president to work with business owners to develop measures that will ensure their survival, rather than point fingers at those who have been forced to lay off workers.
The federation “invites President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to collaborate with measures that promote job protection . . . This is not the time to continue on the path of social polarization,” said de Hoyos.
He asked López Obrador for tax deferrals and breaks on paying government-run utilities such as water and electricity.
As for Sheinbaum’s warning, the federation said “these statements lack a legal and constitutional basis at a critical moment in the life of the country in which unity is required, rather than placing blame on those guilty of an economic reality.”
De Hoyos cited recommendations from the International Labor Organization (ILO), which reports that the coronavirus pandemic is poised to eliminate 195 million jobs globally in the second quarter of 2020 alone.
“Workers and businesses are facing catastrophe, in both developed and developing economies,” said Guy Ryder, ILO’s director-general. “We have to move fast, decisively, and together. The right, urgent, measures, could make the difference between survival and collapse.”
De Hoyos said this morning that the private sector is preparing a national strategy intended to preserve jobs and businesses. He said a national accord is being developed as a result of talks initiated by the Business Coordinating Council and will be presented to the government.
The latter organization, an umbrella group that represents the interests of the private sector in Mexico, has had a somewhat warm relationship with the federal government until this week, when it issued a strong criticism of the government’s economic plan and its president even suggested that revoking the mandate of President López Obrador, which is to be put to a vote in 2022, was an option to be considered.
De Hoyos, meanwhile, has been strongly critical of the president, to the point that some Coparmex members have questioned his political impartiality.
Their plan might not go far with an obstinate president who is firmly on the other side of the political divide.