Octavio B. accepted a job as a driver for a business that distributes merchandise to various areas of Mexico City. The urgency of taking care of and earning income did not make him demand a small detail that he now regrets not having: a written contract.
He has been working eight hours from Monday to Friday and noon on Saturdays for a little over a year, seniority and effort that are of little use to him to ask for vacations or to think about a settlement or liquidation if the time comes to go elsewhere. The only way to negotiate any situation with your employer is verbally.
Like Octavio B. 16.6 million workers, according to Inegi data as of the second quarter of this year, are in distress due to the absence of a key role for any defense effect, especially legal.
The proportion of people in this condition is not less. In Mexico there are 39.2 million subordinate and paid workers, which shows that four out of 10 work without a document that proves any link with their employer.
To see it from another dimension, the number of people without a written contract is almost equivalent to the population of the State of Mexico —the most inhabited entity in the country— which, according to the most recent Inegi census, has 16.9 million citizens.
Although men who provide their services and skills without a support role are the majority, with almost 10.6 million cases, the number of women who lack this means of protection is not insignificant: just over 6 million.
Experts recognize that the lack of papers leaves workers defenseless and the possibility of exercising their labor rights.
In case of unjustified dismissal, the need to request some disability, to have access to health services, benefits, or an accident at work, there is no way to assert the defense, according to experts.
For example, the same Inegi data show that around 16.9 million paid and subordinate people do not have access to health services and that there are 13.5 million without benefits.
Most of the people who work under these conditions are in micro-businesses, many of them without establishments, as well as in small and medium-sized companies; however, there are cases in large companies.