Mexico’s Ratification of ILO Convention Number 98 and the Future of Protection Contracts

Stanley Gacek


This note reviews and analyzes the impacts of Mexico’s September 2018 ratification of International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 98 on the right to organize and collective bargaining. Specifically, it focuses on what Mexico’s ratification of the instrument means for the future of the pro-tection contract system in terms of international law. Mexico’s ratification of Convention 98 closes the doctrinal gap on protection contracts which was left by Convention 87, on freedom of association. Although Convention 98 does not cover the armed forces, the police, and public servants employed in state administration, according to international law, its ratification should invalidate much of the Mexican protection contract regime. Convention 98 is not self-enforcing, but ratification of the instrument subjects Mexico to the full scrutiny of the ILO’s supervisory system regarding compliance with norms. Moreover, Mexico’s domestic jurisprudence governing compliance with ratified international human rights treaties bodes well for effective judicial enforcement of the convention. With the ratification of Conventions 87 and 98, international law mandates the implementation of an authentically democratic labor relations system in Mexico. With the additional ratifications of Convention 29 on forced labor, Convention 100 on equal remuneration, Convention 105 on the abolition of forced labor, Convention 111 on discrimination in employment and occupation, Convention 138 on the minimum age for work, and Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor, Mexico is bound by international law to comply with all globally recognized core labor standards.


ILO; collective bargaining agreements; protection contracts; Mexico

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