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Brazil’s Senate approves contested labour reform bill
July 12, 2017, 5:03 am

Image from a labour protest in April in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Xinhua]

The Brazilian Senate has approved a bill aimed at labor market reforms amid a political crisis that has jeopardized President Temer’s rule.

The upper house passed the labour bill 50 to 26 with one abstention.

The bill allows more temporary work contracts and outsourcing, eliminating mandatory union dues, in effect weakening workers’ rights.

The bill faced fierce opposition from labor unions across Brazil. In April and June, Brazilian unions organised a nationwide general strike that closed schools, disrupted transport networks and led to clashes with public security in several cities.

Protesters are angry that Brazilian politicians are insisting on the need for cuts in benefits and public services even as evidence grows that they benefited personally from illegal kickbacks on overinflated contracts. President Michel Temer is also facing charges of taking multimillion-dollar bribes.

The rapporteur for a Brazilian lower house committee examining a corruption charge against President Michel Temer recommended on Monday that the body vote to put Temer on trial. Two-thirds of the lower house’s 513 members must approve the charge against Temer for it to move to the Supreme Court. If the top court accepts the charge, Temer will be ousted from the presidency.

The proposal to modernize Brazil’s labor laws, some of which date back to the 1940s, is backed by Brazilian businesses so they can lower labor costs that allegedly undercut their ability to compete in foreign markets.

Pension reform that raises the age of retirement has met with even more resistance, as it requires a constitutional amendment to become effective.

Brazil’s former president and leader of the Workers Party, Dilma Rousseff called the labour reforms passage “workers’ rights violations”.

“All support to the courageous senators who opposed this workers’ rights violation,” she tweeted on Tuesday.

TBP and Agencies

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