Capital: Bogota
Population: 47.79m. (2014 est.)

Mexico ratified ILO Convention No. 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948) in 1950. In 2018 the Mexican Senate approved the ratification of Convention No. 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949), but this ratification remains pending.

The public sector is particularly heavily organised, the unions are strong in industrial areas, and there are also many peasant organisations. There have traditionally been elements of corruption, racketeering and strong-arm methods in the Mexican union movement. In recent years many serious incidents have been reported, including murders, anti-union violence, repression of protests, and intimidation. Serious violence and repression of activists have been reported during conflict with employers, third party suppliers, customers, and the State in the absence of more democractic tools to organiserepresentation in the workplace.

Thousands of small and medium sized local level unions are said to exist only on paper, a phenomenon known as ‘ghost’ unions. Since only one union can be recognised at each workplace, and since bargaining over pay and conditions takes place at workplace level, there is an incentive for employers to make agreements with these ‘ghost’ unions in order to lock-down a trade union contract at workplaces and thus bar the possible entry of more militant or representative unions. Large numbers of workplaces are believed to have agreements with unions that barely exist or that would be unable to demonstrate majority worker support.Constitutional reforms in 2016 were welcomed, but were insufficient to fully change this underlying model. The reforms depend for their effectiveness on legislative reform that would give workers the democratic tools needed to overturn the recognition of paper unions and protection contracts.

Since the 1930s, the dominant force has been the Confederación de Trabajadores de México (CTM, English: Confederation of Mexican Workers), which is closely allied with the PRI, the party of government continuously from 1929 until the end of the century. The CTM is the dominant factor in the loose Congreso del Trabajo (CT, English: Congress of Labour), which provides an umbrella for dozens of federations and independent unions. In 2017 the CTM joined 10 Latin American trade unions in a break away from the ITUC to found a new regional centre, la Alternativa Democrática Sindical de las Américas (ADS, English: Democratic Alternative Union for the Americas). At present, ITUC reports no Mexican affiliate.

Full details of the country's political history, the development of trade unionism, and contact and affiliation details for all national trade union centres can be found in ICTUR's in-depth global reference book: Trade Unions of the World.

Link to reportFull country profile: Mexico, from Trade Unions of the World (2016)

Link to letterIntervention letter: political killings and law reform (2018)

Link to reportICTUR submission to United Nations' Universal Periodic Review (2017)

Link to reportIUR article: 'Mexican unions and the international outsourcing model', Bizberg (2016)

Link to reportIUR article: 'Mexican teachers jailed and shot for protesting education reform', Bacon (2016)


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