Building Union Capacity to Reduce Precarious Employment in Peru
Workers hired on temporary contracts are effectively prevented from participating in unions because they reasonably fear that employers will retaliate by not renewing their contracts. It has been estimated that about two-thirds of formal sector workers are restricted to these contracts, which constitutes precarious employment. Recognizing this problem, the Government of Peru has concluded that “temporary contracts have been used repeatedly as a means of discouraging trade union membership,” generating “negative effects on the level of social protection.” While the law provides some protections, workers are commonly unaware of them and the roles of the Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion (MTPE) and the newly formed National Superintendency of Labor Inspection or “Superintendencia Nacional de Fiscalización Laboral” (SUNAFIL).
The Project’s objectives include:
- Improved worker education about their rights regarding precarious form of employment, including short-term contracts and subcontracting; and
- Improved worker representation before employers and the government to address the use of abusive short-term employment contracts and unlawful subcontracting.
These objectives will be supported by: improving union administration, communication, advocacy, bargaining, and service delivery in both the traditional and nontraditional export sectors; and developing a system for unions to collect and track data on alleged violations and their resolution.
Improved worker education and union capacity will improve efforts to reduce the use of precarious forms of employment. Because unions will be more effective in organizing new groups of workers, giving them voice as active members, representing their rights and interests, and advocating on their behalf, they will achieve more productive results in their interactions with employers, the government, and civil society.
Using a database to monitor inspection requests and advocacy efforts will provide unions with information on specific cases and trends that, with additional assistance, they can use to target efforts to improve compliance and enforcement through various proceedings and bipartite and tripartite discussions. Furthermore, as unions resolve an increasing number of the cases, more workers will be motivated to seek redress through unions.