October 23, 2012 / 9:05 PM / 7 years ago

Bill to reform labor laws advances in Mexican Senate

MEXICO CITY, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Mexico’s Senate gave preliminary approval on Tuesday to a labor reform bill that could result in the biggest shake-up of the country’s job market in more than four decades.

In a show of cooperation between the outgoing and incoming governments, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto and President Felipe Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN) backed the bill.

The bill is not through Congress yet, however, as lawmakers are still debating a series of thorny issues article by article.

These include proposals that aim to improve the transparency of trade union finances and how their leaders are elected.

PRI lawmakers in the lower house of Congress gutted anti-union measures from the original bill and approved an amended version in late September. The disputed measures were put back on the table for discussion in the Senate.

The draft law to relax labor rules was put forward by Calderon, whose conservative PAN wanted to make it easier for businesses to hire and fire workers, and weaken unions that have long formed a keystone of support for the PRI.

The centrist PRI dominated Mexico for most of the past century, ruling the country from 1929 to 2000.

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