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Brazil's trade union centres take action against Temer reforms

27 October, 2016IndustriALL's affiliated unions held a day of protest against Temer reform proposals that will freeze public spending for 20 years.

The country's largest trade union centres, including the CUT and Força Sindical, have again joined forces to fight proposals put forward by Michel Temer's government. They held demonstrations on 24 October (6pm, São Paulo time) against a proposed constitutional amendment (PEC 241) that will freeze public spending on health, education, housing and social welfare for 20 years.

The protests aimed to put pressure on Congress, which is meeting in the Chamber of Deputies for the second round of voting on the amendment. Workers believe that the proposal is a direct attack on their rights.

According to a recent poll conducted by the respected agency Vox Populi/CUT, 74% of the population are against PEC 241 and proposed pension reforms. The poll showed that 80% of urban and rural workers are against the Temer government proposal to increase the minimum retirement age to 65 and 70% of respondents were against PEC 241.

Sergio Luiz Leite, president of FEQUIMFAR/Força Sindical, said that the PEC threatened workers in various ways. For example, if the amendment is passed, it will be impossible to increase the minimum wage above the rate of inflation if public expenditure limits established by the government are exceeded. The amendment also threatens unemployment insurance.

“Building on the action taken by workers and others affected by the new law, the trade union movement must increase the pressure on members of congress in order to avoid the damage that PEC 214 will cause. There is still time to fight against it,” he said.

The trade union movement will continue the campaign and leaders of the trade union centres have agreed an action plan that includes further demonstrations on 11 and 25 November. They hope that the demonstrations will alert the public about the threats to workers posed by proposed labour and social security reforms.

Jorge Almeida, IndustriALL Global Union Regional Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, said:

“We support and applaud this struggle by the Brazilian trade union movement to protect and maintain workers’ social security and employment rights. The Temer government is again showing its anti-worker character by making work more precarious and cutting welfare provision".