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  • Rodrigo Maia celebrates being named speaker of the House.

    Rodrigo Maia celebrates being named speaker of the House. | Photo: Reuters

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If passed, employers will be able to negotiate collective contracts with their employees that don't comply with the Consolidation of Labor Laws.

Brazil's House of Representatives approved urgent proceedings to accelerate a vote aimed at reforming labor laws in order to weaken workers rights. The decision occurs roughly 24 hours after the House rejected a similar project.

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The urgent proceedings were approved by 287 votes to 144. Opposition house members expressed outrage over the measure, accusing their colleagues of a coup and utilizing infamous Eduardo Cunha tactics to secure a majority vote. Speaker of the House Rodrigo Maia was sharply criticized for moving ahead with the urgent proceedings.

"The quicker (Bill 6787) is approved, the lesser time civil society has to contest it, to go to Brasilia and demonstrate against it," said Labor lawyer Amanda Pretzel Claro.

Known primarily as Bill 6787, the labor law reform bill undermines workers' rights. If passed, employers will be able to negotiate collective contracts with their employees that don't comply with the Consolidation of Labor Laws, CLT. If employees aren't represented by strong workers' unions or don't mobilize during collective contract negotiations, labor regulations can be approved that afford workers even fewer rights than those guaranteed by CLT.

Some of the proposals outlined in Bill 6787 include: the separation of vacation time into three periods; the reduction in the distribution of company profits; an increase in daily work hours; and a monthly work hour regime of 220 hours. While the government refers to these alterations as "modernizing labor laws," popular social movements and unions define them as blatant attacks on historical rights secured by the tireless struggle of the working class.

Bill 6787 is scheduled to be voted on by a special commission on Tuesday and in the Parliament the following day. The urgent proceedings, headed by a special commission, doesn't allow for requests to make amendments to or even review the proposals.

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