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News Article

Government Issues Plan to Protect Workforce

By Cas Biekmann | Wed, 04/08/2020 - 16:13

Insufficient medical staff is a problem Mexico will need to deal with in the face of COVID-19. To combat the virus, a controversial government plan to protect workers has been initiated. Furthermore, the concept of essential work is questioned. Read about it in your weekly roundup!

Insufficient Medical Talent Available in Mexico

The International Health Organization (IHO) published a document announcing that Mexico simply does not have enough professional hospital staff per capita available in comparison to other countries. This could mean that the country’s battle against COVID-19 will soon turn complicated. Mexico has around 20 to 29 medical professionals for every 10,000 inhabitants. This is far from other countries in the region such as Brazil, Chile, Panama and Costa Rica. All of them have over 100 specialists available per 10,000 inhabitants, according to the study from 2018.

Mexican Government Announces Plan to Protect Workers

Most of Mexico’s population is now staying home. After Mexico’s government declared a "health emergency due to force majeure," many companies were forced to shut their offices. The potential damage to the economy is significant. Therefore, the government is taking action:

  • To hire 45,000 doctors and nurses to reduce the staff gap in the health sector
  • To create a fund of MX$35 billion (US$1.4 billion) from ISSSTE to deliver personal loans to 670,000 state employees
  • To issue certificates of MX$177 billion (US$7.14 billion) in credits from FOVISSSTE and INFONAVIT to the benefit of 442,500 workers
  • To project 270,000 new jobs by activating housing loans from FOVISSSTE and INFONAVIT
  • To issue at least 2.1 million personal loans for housing and small businesses in the formal and informal sectors of the economy
  • To create 2 million jobs by December 2020

The plan, however, has faced criticism from experts and leaders of the private sector, citing that the measures are not sufficient to tackle a crisis of this size.

 

Essential Work, a Definition Under Discussion

Mexico’s policy regarding essential work is being challenged. Reuters reported that Mexican carmakers asked the government for an essential industry designation. Measures to combat COVID-19 are putting their plants on lockdown, meaning that around 1 million workers of an industry contributing 3.8 percent to the GDP are sitting idle.

Furthermore, US companies are lobbying with leaders of the Mexican government to continue working. The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) is leading the proposal. Issues included in the lobbying involve can makers. Even though food is deemed essential, once cans in which food is stored run out, production will need to stop. The mining sector has successfully lobbied with the government to avoid costly and potentially unsafe paralyzing of its operations. Some activities like promoting mine safety, managing waste and keeping mines from closing up completely are allowed to continue.

 

ILO: COVID-19 Affects 81 Percent of Jobs Worldwide

The loss of employment hours for 2Q20 will affect 195 million people around the world who work full-time, estimated the organization. Almost 2,700 million employees worldwide are being affected by social-distancing measures issued to slow down the spread of the virus.

 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
The Conversation, The Guardian, El Economista, Reuters, WHO
Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst