Saturday, January 17, 2015

Against "Ley Pulpín"

The SOYMB blog has indicated that the employers often use immigration to divide workers, as they have gender and age. An example of the latter is now taking place in Peru with the imposition of new work rules.

Workers ages 18 to 24 who are dismissed will not get severance pay. Workers in the age group also will now be entitled to only half the vacation time given to older employees. And young workers won’t be paid the twice yearly bonuses of one month’s wages standard for others. It also lifts requirements for health insurance. The consequence is to convert one in 15 Peruvians into cheap labor. According to the government, the new law would encourage small- and medium-size businesses to hire young people who work in the so-called informal sector but critics expect many businesses to fire older employees and replace them with young people to take advantage of the law.

The trade union federation, Confederación General de Trabajadores Peruanos, leader César Soberón called for the law to be overturned "as soon as possible to avoid a climate of social conflict that does not help the country."

Investigative articles published by Alvaro Vidal in and by Beatriz Jimenes  in reveal how the now infamous Law 30288 was cooked up behind the scenes by associations of large firms and entrusted to the ministers of production and of economics and finance. The investigations also revealed how the legislation was written and approved in a rush by Congress and the president, going against the opinions of a series of experts, the International Labor Organization, and sectors of the Ministry of Labor. In October of last year, a letter signed by a group of those experts denounced an “intense media campaign promoted by some business associations and media conglomerates, to demand from the government reforms in the labor code oriented to reduce the labor rights of workers.” In the letter, they explain that “the campaign is harmful” and “the arguments are false.” It is revealing that after signing the letter, Christian Sanchez was fired by the government from the National Institution for Labor Supervision.

The main business organizations involved in the creation of the law were the Association of Exporters and the National Society of Industries or the SNI. Those organizations have been trying to reduce the rights of workers in Peru because they consider them to be extra costs. The article in provides details of how the SNI insisted on making the labor market flexible, making firings easier, reducing the minimum wage, and cutting benefits and rights. It also points out how the minister of production, Piero Ghezzi, participated in those meetings and adopted the directives enthusiastically.

Ostensibly intended to address youth unemployment, the Youth Labor Law has been dubbed by protesters the "Ley Pulpín"—after a fruit drink popular with children, which has taken on the slang meaning of "wet behind the ears" in English. There is now a general sense that the Ley Pulpín has actually helped politicize a new generation of Peruvians. Indeed, the many young people who have taken to the streets to protest now view this law not as an isolated case but as part of a larger systemic problem, and are thus becoming increasingly critical of capitalism.

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