A pending supreme decree could reinforce elements of Peru's labor laws in an attempt to address “serious concerns” raised by the U.S. Labor Department that the South American nation is failing to uphold provisions of its free trade agreement with the U.S., but labor groups fear the push fails to address a key problem with “short-term contracts.”
The decree is in response to a March Labor Department report that raised “serious concerns” on whether Peru is upholding laws allowing the the freedom of association with trade unions as required by FTA Article 17.2.1(a). The report, which stopped short of finding actual violations, was in response to a July 2015 petition filed by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) and eight Peruvian groups that accused Peru of violating its FTA by failing to uphold those labor laws.
Eric Gottwald, legal and policy director for the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), said employers and trade unions provided feedback on the decree. Gottwald noted time is running out if changes are going to be implemented before Humala leaves office.
“I do know they are facing this deadline, but I think everybody is pushing for them to get it done if at all possible,” Gottwald said. “Otherwise, what happens is a new government comes in and with that new government, we're going to have to start from scratch.”