Mexico approves labor reform


President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto speaks during a press conference on July 2, 2012 in Mexico City.


Daniel Aguilar

Mexico's lower house of Congress passed a bill Saturday that would reform four-decade-old labor laws.

The final vote too place just before 4 a.m. after a rowdy 14-hour debate that was led from a congressional balcony after labor union and leftist lawmakers stormed the chambers and took the microphone from the speaker leading the session, reported Reuters.

According to Agence France-Presse, the lawmakers shouted "no to the reform!" when they took over the floor.

The bill was approved 346-60 with one abstention and will now go to the Mexican Senate, Reuters said. The Senate will have 30 days to approve or reject it.

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The legislation was originally proposed by conservative President Felipe Calderón, and was also backed by his successor, President Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who will take office on December 1.

"It's very important news in a country that has shown difficulties in recent years to seal agreements on key structural reforms," economist Nomura Benito Berber told The Wall Street Journal. The new legislation will make it easier and cheaper to hire and fire, create new types of temporary employment contracts that don't require compensation when they expire, create contracts involving payment by the hour, and regulate outsourcing practices.