U.S. Department of Labor releases report finding serious labor rights abuses in key Peruvian export industries
The US Department of Labour (DOL) has published a report in response to a complaint filed under the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) by ILRF (International Labor Rights Forum – an workers’ rights American advocacy group) and Peruvian trade unions about persistent, widespread labour abuses.
Under Peru’s Non-Traditional Export Promotion (NTEP) law it is perfectly legal for companies to hire workers on short-term, temporary contracts that can be renewed indefinitely. Employers regularly use this practice to bust unions: if workers attempt to organize to improve wages and working conditions, their bosses just refuse to renew their contracts.
The US DOL report suggested that the NTEP law “embolden[s] employers who seek to undermine” workers’ rights to unionize, because companies “have little fear of…repercussions.”. As a result, DOL acknowledged, workers could “find it more difficult to exercise their…rights without fear of retaliation.”. The report also highlighted concerns around Peru’s systematic failures to enforce its labour laws.
Despite DOL’s strong findings, the report provides no deadline for Peru to make the suggested legal and policy reforms. The U.S. Government commits only to reviewing the progress that Peru “may make” in nine months. As recently as 2014 the General Accounting Office had raised concerns about the US Government’s monitoring and enforcement of the labour standards contained in its free trade arrangements.
The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a mega-trade deal that includes Peru – is currently stalled in Congress until after the November elections. If the TPP is enacted, Peru will immediately be in violation of the agreement’s labour chapter – which is broadly similar to the one found in the PTPA – unless it implements the necessary reforms.
Source and photo – http://www.laborrights.org/