The International Labor Organization (ILO) is requesting that Brazil’s unelected President Michel Temer justify his labor reforms, having decided to include the country in a list of 24 countries that violate labor rights.
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The Brazilian government has until November to justify to the organization’s expert committee with legal arguments that reforms implemented under his leadership are not in violation of Convention 98, which deals with the rights of workers to collective organizing.
A group of Brazilian unions had submitted a complaint to the ILO regarding the new package of sweeping labor reforms implemented by Temer, which rolled back years of progress under the previous Worker Party governments.
After analyzing the submitted complaint and reforms, the ILO decided last week to include Brazil among the list of countries in violation of labor rights.
"The complaint submitted to the ILO detailed the understanding of Brazilian unions that… the Brazilian government created mechanisms that interfere with collective bargaining and promote individual negotiation and precarious labor relations," said a statement by the group of unions that was published on Revista Forum.
"The government failed to present justifications for the labor reform, especially given that trade unions were absent in discussions," the statement continued.
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The complaint was submitted by the Central of Brazilian Unions, Central of Brazilian Workers, Central of Workers, the Trade Union Force, the New Trade Union Confederation of Workers, and the General Workers’ Union.
Last July, the Temer government – which assumed the de facto presidency after a so-called parliamentary coup impeached former President Dilma Rousseff – approved sweeping labor reforms intended to "modernize" labor laws.
The reforms were widely criticized by unions and workers’ organizations. The technical director of the Inter-Union Department of Socioeconomic Statistics and Studies, Clamente Ganz Lucio, said the reform "creates mechanisms to legalize practices that make work precarious, reduce or impede union protection, and leave the worker exposed to the coercion of businesses in the definicion of their rights," according to Prensa Latina.
President of the Brazilian Lawyer’s Order, Claudio Lamachia, said the reform "attacks the federal constitution and the normative regulatory system, and intends to create subclasses of workers with few rights, on precarious contracts."