Unemployment Reaches High LevelsBy Cas Biekmann | Fri, 03/27/2020 - 16:10
Many Mexicans already face precarious conditions considering their employment but the situation could deteriorate at a moment’s notice. Unemployment has risen to levels not seen since 2016, reported El Universal. While this is not as concerning on its own, people facing critical conditions in terms of potentially losing their jobs rose to 23.1 percent, which is the highest figure reported since 2005. This spells trouble for the 60.4 percent of Mexicans that are considered economically active, especially since El Economista reported close to 10 percent of workers practically need a second job to keep their head above water.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) headed by Luisa María Alcalde Luján reported: "It must be clear that there is no legal basis to fire workers or unilaterally modify working conditions." This statement refers to companies seeking to fire employees due to a downturn caused by COVID-19. Alcalde Luján stressed that employers should show solidarity in trying times and that lowering the salary of employees was equally illegal.
President López Obrador voiced his support for people and smaller businesses and Mexico City will provide microcredits so smaller companies can keep running their operations until the virus goes away. The president also claimed to have spoken to Carlos Slim and agreed it would be necessary for Slim to keep his staff employed during the crisis. INFONAVIT announced it will create a fund for workers who lose their jobs, ensuring they will not need to pay their mortgage for the first three months. The pandemic will prove a major challenge for Mexico to overcome, especially as it triggers a global recession. However, the blow can be softened, as long as the government, private companies and workers work hand in hand to diminish the effects.