Mexico bans outsourcing of avocados and berry pickers

MEXICO CITY, June 20 (Reuters)Mexico has said it will ban the contracting out of day laborers in the avocado and berry industries, in part to ensure companies comply with the requirements of the country’s trade deal with the United States and the Canada.

Labor Minister Luisa Maria Alcalde said on Monday that her ministry would issue a directive preventing industries from using subcontractors for certain activities.

It would specifically ban outsourcing for avocado and berry pickers, billions of dollars of which are exported to the United States each year.

Alcalde announced the policy at a meeting in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico’s top avocado-producing state.

Michoacan Governor Alfredo Ramirez, also present at the meeting, said ensuring formal employment was necessary for businesses to comply with the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, as well as to settle a “historic debt” owed to day labourers.

The avocado culture in Mexico has recently suffered from gang violence, especially in Michoacan. The United States temporarily suspended imports of state avocados this year after a US regulator received threats.

Alcalde said the Department of Labor would work with companies “to initiate a process of regularization, to level the playing field, to eliminate unfair competition and to promote respect for individual and collective rights.”

(Report by Kylie Madry)


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