In terms of oil production, Mexico is still a country with a high dependency on foreign investment, advice and technology. Since 1938, when Lázaro Cárdenas nationalized the oil companies in the country, we have experienced very short technological and efficiency outcomes.
As part of the major reforms that the “new” Mexican government wants to implement to improve the national economy, the Energy reform is the one that drives my attention the most. I noticed that regardless of the fact that foreign investment might be needed to make the oil national company (PEMEX) more efficient, it hasn’t at all touched the Oil Union. For years, unions in Mexico started as a way to protect the workers from abusive practices from their bosses and the entrance of the free market. Throughout the years, the unions did improve the workers’ conditions and stood up against low wages, bad working conditions and lack of labour benefits.
I come from a “Pemex” family, which means that most of my relatives have worked for the State Company. My education was mostly paid with Pemex money, and I always had the doors opened if I wanted to join the union. Since I was a wee boy I realized that Pemex wasn’t doing its job properly, and that the union became the heaviest burden for the efficiency and productivity of one of the major oil companies in the world. Pemex needs hard-core investment in its infrastructure and technology, better training for its technicians and a global business vision. However, this Energy Reform fails to touch the union, which is, in my opinion, the biggest cancer that the Mexican oil industry faces at the moment.
Until the government makes it clear that the union must obey clear rules in order to make its members better workers, professionals and technician, until then, Pemex will relay only on subsidies and shallow foreign investment.
So far, Peña’s administration has show weakness on establishing a clear path in order to foster a strong and reliant Mexican economy. His administration has neither satisfied the international market nor the opposition parties, some more nationalists than others, with their initial proposal. Maybe they should spend more time on straight forward strong initiatives and less money on telly spots where a high class Mexican explains to the low class population (around 70% of the Mexicans) why this reform will benefit all of us.