By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Workers’ unions in at least 22 states took the streets on Wednesday to protest the bill that will regulate outsourcing contracts in private companies in Brazil, expanding the types of jobs which can be outsourced by businesses. Today outsourcing is only allowed for positions such as janitorial or security, and not considered as the company’s core activity.
The bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on April 8th, with modifications. These modifications will be voted on next week, before the bill goes to the Senate for voting.
The protests were organized by Brazil’s major workers’ unions, like Central Unica dos Trabalhadores, CUT (Workers Central Union). In the capital, Brasilia, 10,000 workers, according to organizers, went to the streets to protest.
In Recife, Pernambuco, bus drivers halted traffic by blocking main roads in the city, while approximately 12,000 workers protested against the bill. In São Paulo protesters closed the roads leading to the São Paulo University (USP) campus.
In the city’s metropolitan region, autoworkers from Volkswagen, Ford and Scania closed one of the main highways going into São Paulo, Rodovia Anchieta. Traffic was also disrupted along Rodovia Dutra, which links Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro. Union leaders say that the bill would allow companies to offer lower salaries and lesser benefits for workers, eating away at workers’ rights. President Dilma Rousseff stated last week that outsourcing ‘does not compromise workers’ rights’.
Representatives from Rousseff’s party, the PT (Workers Party) has joined its ally, the PMDB, and opposition, the PSDB, to approve the bill after it excluded public, state-owned and mixed economy companies, such as Petrobras and Banco do Brasil.
The bill has been in Brazil’s Lower House for the past ten years. In 2011 discussions restarted between representatives and workers’ and employers’ unions, and certainly many small business owners will be hoping to see the labor law move forward to help manage the cost of doing business in Brazil.