Oscar De la Vega Gómez is “always well prepared in negotiations with trade unions”, and “undoubtedly deserves the strong recognition he receives for his distinguished career”, which spans three decades.
Oscar is an attorney in labour law with over 30 years’ experience and leadership in this sector. He has focused his practice on litigation and consultancy in labour matters, providing legal services to important multinational companies. Additionally, he has developed and implemented successful strategies in complex collective matters; and, due to the Labor Reform, he has advised clients on the prevention and management of labour crisis.
On what sort of matters are clients coming to you most frequently about?
Clients are approaching the firm on matters related to the new challenges that have been generated by the labour reform in Mexico. Our expertise is being recognised and recommended by clients on labour crisis prevention and management, union certification processes, complex collective negotiations and high-profile labour litigations.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the Mexican economy, and what impact has this had on the labour market?
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the Mexican economy by creating scenarios of crisis and legal uncertainty within companies. Many businesses considered as non-essential stopped activities for a long period of time and that generated economic losses to these companies, which, in many occasions, led to the termination of numerous employees and or the company’s shut down. Furthermore, the pandemic has created a need for companies to reinvent the way they do business, especially, with regards to giving the opportunity for employees to work remotely.
To what extent will the new NAFTA regulations impact labour law in Mexico?
The regulations due to the new NAFTA will generate a great number of changes; especially, in collective matters where employees will have an opportunity to have a real union democracy, as the new processes will oblige the employees to choose their representatives through a free, personal, secret and direct vote. Furthermore, the compliance with the new regulations will be verified by a Rapid Response Mechanism that will imply a greater amount of control over the different work centres in Mexico.
What should companies be doing to adapt to these changes?
Companies ought to start implementing global solutions, which should take into account legal and human resources areas, in order to allow them to have an organised and balanced transition in the application of the new legal framework, especially regarding freedom of association and collective bargaining.
How has your practice been impacted as a result of covid-19?
Due to covid-19 a new set of challenges has arisen for all companies, as the actions taken by the government have created a great amount of economic and legal uncertainty for them. Therefore, a new set of legal challenges has been generated, challenges that require multidisciplinary, innovative and integral solutions in order to minimise the risks that come with them and increase the possibilities of a better outcome for companies.
What do you consider to be the most significant opportunities and challenges facing labour lawyers over the next five years?
The “new normal” demands companies to work in new ways and with a broader use of technology; therefore, a new legal framework will be required, one in which labour attorneys will need creativity in the way they regulate and advise companies, seeking to take care of the employees’ health and well-being, while maintaining and encouraging productivity through the use of new technologies and work schemes.
What advice would you give to practitioners looking to set up their own firm?
I would like to encourage practitioners to take the opportunity to do it, it is a great challenge; however, with great passion and hard work, everything is possible.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
Due the fact that our firm is new, only five years old, I would like to institutionalise it, in a way that we will offer long-term professional careers to our young attorneys, while providing high-quality labour legal services to all of our clients.