Uruguay is leading a movement for a Mercosur meeting of its heads of state to discuss and address concerns around Brazil’s labor reform.
"The Uruguayan government has sent a note to Brazil, which is the president (pro tempore) of Mercosur, asking that it gather the social and labor organs of Mercosur because we want to analyze ... what impact the labor reform of Brazil could have,” Labor Minister Ernesto Murro said, adding that he believes the reform could affect Uruguayan workers and entrepreneurs.
“If an agreement between worker and employer is worth more than a law, then we are back two or three centuries," said Murro.
Although Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa stated his government is against meddling in another country’s internal politics, the potential domino effect might force the trade group to intervene within the safety of Mercosur.
“We are not going to interfere in the internal legislation of the countries, but we want to discuss, exchange ideas, raise concerns, because that's going to be very difficult to compete against," Nin Novoa said, explaining that the competitive worker’s wages shouldn’t be the “adjustment variable for competition in the markets.”
Therefore, he explained that Uruguay called for a meeting "which is within the framework of the socio-labor clause, which states that twice a year an administrative committee must meet."
The Brazilian Senate approved the biggest change in the Consolidation of Labor Laws since its inception in the 1940s in mid-July.
The initiative aims to reduce high unemployment and informality, although some experts have warned of the potential risk of creating jobs that are more precarious with fewer rights.
For his part, Brazilian Chamber of Deputies President Rodrigo Maia posted on his Twitter account that the labor reform approved last Tuesday by the senate will not be making any kind of modifications to the text.