Last Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014, 13:50 GMT

2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Peru

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Peru, 8 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea661eb11.html [accessed 27 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 29,200,000
Capital: Lima
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

There was no improvement in the labour and trade union rights situation relative to previous years. Union leaders and members continue to face unfair dismissals. Unionisation has been seriously affected by increased labour market flexibility and precarious forms of contracting, promoted to a great extent by the State. Anti-union practices and violations of collective bargaining rights in both the public and private sectors were widespread during 2010. The labour authorities showed a lack of political will to prevent or take punitive action against workers' rights abuses.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN LAW

While fundamental trade union rights are recognised, certain problems exist in the law. Both public and private sector workers are free to form and join trade unions without prior authorisation, however the minimum membership required by law to create unions is too high. Temporary workers are not allowed to join the same union as permanent workers. The law does not protect workers against anti-union actions, as it allows employers to sack workers without any justification in return for payment of severance pay.

The right to collective bargaining is guaranteed in the Constitution, although the scope for bargaining is restricted for workers in public administration.

The right to strike is also recognised, but is undermined by the fact that authorisation from the Ministry of Labour is required to call a strike. Furthermore, the Ministry has the power to end a strike if it poses a serious risk to the enterprise or the sector of production or if it could have serious consequences due to its size. The Administrative Labour Authority – and not the courts – has the responsibility for declaring whether or not a strike is legal, and can also determine the extent of the minimum service if the parties fail to reach an agreement. Finally, a Ministerial Resolution provides for the creation of a national register of substitute teachers to replace striking teachers.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN PRACTICE AND VIOLATIONS IN 2010

Background: According to Labour Ministry figures, in 2009 almost 73% of employees did not have employment contracts, only 7% had indefinite contracts and 20% were on temporary contracts. The ILO pointed to the growth of the informal economy and underemployment, the fall in the real minimum wage and extremely high levels of child labour (42%). The government is still postponing the approval of the general labour law. Congress approved a new procedural labour law that, whilst offering progress in some areas, limits key trade union freedoms.

The violations of ILO Convention 169 continued. Following the deplorable events of 2009 a channel of understanding was opened between the state and indigenous peoples, leading to an agreement on legislation on prior consultation. On 13 July 2010, however, Congress approved the president's observations on the Consultation Act, rejecting the text agreed on and seriously limiting the right to prior consultation.

The measures to implement the free trade agreement with the United States have diminished trade union and workers' rights even further.

Temporary contracts used to avoid unionisation: Employers continued to make fraudulent use of temporary and other precarious forms of contracting as a means of preventing unionisation and avoiding the cost of labour rights and benefits. The figures on labour intermediation focus mainly on the property development, business services and rental sector, where almost 80% of employment intermediaries operate. Over 50% of the workers in this sector are employed on temporary contracts and the union membership rate does not even reach 1%.

Union busting at transport company EPPO S.A.: During 2010, unionised workers at the EPPO S.A. transport firm in Talara staged protests over the incessant dismissals of trade union leaders and members since the formation of their union in December 2009. In addition to opposing the organisation's structure, the company deployed a range of anti-union practices, such as changing the working conditions of unionised workers, making them wear different uniforms to be able to identify them, and threatening to dismiss them unless they left the union.

Collective bargaining rights seriously violated at Telefónica: Thirty seven collective negotiations with subsidiary companies created by Telefónica in Peru have been deadlocked since 2006. These parallel companies are in charge of various operations owned by the Spanish multinational Telefónica, but outsource them so as to free themselves of any labour or social obligations. The companies and CONFIEP, the national confederation of private businesses representing them, are refusing to negotiate the working conditions of some 12 million workers. The Ministry of Labour and Employment Promotion (MTPE) has allowed this situation to persist, taking no action to protect the workers' rights. In 2010, the ITUC, TUCA and trade union organisations from Spain and other parts of the world launched initiatives to tackle the serious violations committed by the multinational.

Collective bargaining rights violated in public sector: Although Peru has ratified ILO Convention 98, the government refuses to negotiate working conditions with state employees. The tax authority employees' union SINAUT-SUNAT (Sindicato de Unidad de Trabajadores de la Superintendencia Nacional de Administración Tributaria) has not been able to negotiate labour conditions despite regularly presenting lists of demands since 2007. In 2010, the ILO, in its conclusions regarding case 2690, determined that "the impossibility of negotiating wage increases on an ongoing basis is contrary to the principle of free and voluntary collective bargaining enshrined in Convention No. 98 and requests the Government to promote appropriate mechanisms so that the parties may conclude a collective agreement in the near future".

The administration also refuses to recognise trade union leave and to negotiate the conditions of public employees working in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, who have not received a pay rise for over 18 years. Workers affiliated to the SITRA-ZRNXII union, representing tax employees at Registry Zone XII in Arequipa, faced similar problems. The tax authority has been refusing to hold collective negotiations since 2007, and is refusing to comply with the arbitration ruling of 2006. Likewise, members of SUTCORAH, the union of workers employed by the CORAH special project, linked to the Interior Ministry, faced anti-union dismissals and the government's refusal to hold collective negotiations on their working conditions.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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