Amid a staggering disapproval rating of 87 percent — according to the latest Ipsos poll; a general strike planned for Friday; and mass protests organized by Indigenous communities, the Michel Temer administration pushed through its controversial labor reform bill in Brazil's chamber of deputies Wednesday.
Last week, the lower house approved urgent proceedings to accelerate the vote aimed at reforming labor laws. The decision happened roughly 24 hours after the same chamber rejected a similar project. Bill 6787 will undermine workers' rights by eliminating from contracts payment for workers' commute; reducing compensation for employer abuse; and most importantly, allowing for employers to negotiate contracts with their employees that would not have to comply with the current Consolidation of Labor Laws and could reduce workers' salaries while at the same time, increase their work hours.
The lower house will now analyze six amendments to the bill that may alter important points of the final text. Afterward, it heads to the senate for a vote.
"What type of nation are we going to build by sacrificing the possibility to reduce inequality? What is a society that doesn't intend to guarantee employment?" asked Maria Aparecida da Cruz Bridi, a sociology professor at the Federal University of Parana and member of the Brazilian Association of Work Studies.
Da Cruz Bridi asserted that the government's claim that labor reform will create employment is a lie and that the revision of CLT is intended to serve, first and foremost, the interests of the business community. "He ( Temer ) doesn't have popular approval nor legitimacy to dismantle (CLT)," Da Cruz Bridi concluded.
The reform bill comes on the heels of mass mobilizations against a series of reforms proposed by the Temer regime. On Monday several Indigenous groups set up a five-day encampment in front of Brazil's congress. Last week some 3,000 disgruntled police union members protested outside of congress against the government's plan for social security reform. This Friday a nationwide, general strike is planned against Temer administration proposals that will weaken workers' rights and the social security and well-being of the people of Brazil.