The proposal of labor legislation reform in Brazil

Temer’s government wants to load the crisis on the workers and youth shoulders to benefit bankers and businessmen instead. To it, he is driving a series of measures of attack to the rights and social conquests. The Labor reform would mean lower salaries, less benefits and precarious work conditions, that, in case of approval, will cost major losses and damages to the workers, the poor people, and Brazil’s sovereignty itself.

The main item of the labor reform is weakening laws that protect workers. The proposal establishes 12 points which will be negotiated between employers and employees, with the main one being that agreements between them would be enforced by law. Known as “The negotiated above the legislated.” This means that concessions agreements negotiated by the unions that violate Brazil’s highly detailed, almost 80-years-old Labor Code—which have been frequently struck down by the labor courts—must now be allowed to stand.

It is highly significant that in such a sweeping restructuring of class relations, union “negotiations” are being promoted as never before in Brazil.

The reform also includes the number of hours worked in the day, which could be raised from eight to 12 with a maximum of 48 hours of work per week.

A longer workday is already foreseen in some fields, such as healthcare and security, in which people work in 12-hour shifts, with 36 hours of rest between shifts. The reform also regulates remote working: lunch hour of at least 30 minutes, and productivity-based wages, among others.

The government say that the proposed labor reform in an effort to modernize the law and prevent a loss of jobs by revising rules so that employees and companies can negotiate. It’s the same lay said for many government around the world.


The labor reform aims to end restrictions on businesses contracting out jobs, currently allowed only in the so-called “mean activities”, that is, activities which are not the main business of a given company. For example, the state-run oil giant Petrobras is not currently allowed to hire contract workers for oil extraction, but 40 percent of its workforce is made up of contract workers employed in areas such as oil transport, refining and maintenance. Unrestrained contract hiring is seen by the government as a crucial means of lowering wages.

The contract workers earn on average 27 percent less than regular employees in direct pay, and usually lack many non-wage benefits, such as health insurance, paid leaves and vacations and long-term contracts. On the whole, the reform intends to extend to all workers, by various means, the conditions only suffered by the most exploited in black market jobs, such as 12-hour shifts, unrestrained part-time hiring and substitution of highly exploitative productivity contracts for hourly contracts that prevail in most industries.

In many sectors in Brazil, trade unions are not strong, and unemployment in the country might make it easier for employers to fire a worker and hire another who accepts their conditions, especially now that the new measure reduces the compensation companies must pay for dismissing a worker without just causes.

Fight back!

The government says it is necessary to make these reforms to cut costs and save money because the country has none. What the government does not say is the proposal is to reduce costs with the poor to give it the rich. Temer does not say that, in the present, 42% of Brazil’s incomes goes directly to the bankers’ pockets through the payment of the debt.

The government does not say either that the “business grant”, which is to say the millionaire subsidies by the government to the big firms, remains intact. Plus, it is sent to the foreigner in form of national and international bank profit remittances, meaning thousands of millions of Reales, but no taxes income. Just in 2014 and 2015, US$52.000 millions were sent to the outside of the country.

Temer offered US$10.000 millions to the IMF, organism forcing the countries to exploit their workers to give the money to the international banks. The workers should not pay for this crisis. Let the rich pay for it.

The workers can avoid these attacks, not only because they are not defeated but because there is disposal to struggle. It is necessary to explain to the citizens the meaning of each one of this attacks, and to organize a general strike to defeat them. It is possible to defeat the reforms and the neo-liberal adjustment as a whole, but to do it the unions and Central Federations must call a unified general strike, unifying the date and the program.

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