Brazil’s controversial President-elect Jair Bolsonaro announced he will scrap the Ministry of Labor and transfer its responsibilities to “some other ministry,” in an effort to cut down the number of ministries by almost half as soon as he takes office on Dec.1.
Bolsonaro made the announcement to the press next to his future Justice Minister Sergio Moro, before a transition meeting with incumbent President Michel Temer Wednesday. He also declared his government will get rid of embassies in countries not considered “strategic.”
The current Minister of Labor Caio Vieira de Mello had already issued a communique saying that the ministry was created 88 years ago as the “motherly home” of the Brazilian working class. “The future of work and its multiple and complex relations require an adequate institutional framework,” says the press release.
Forca Sindical, one of Brazil’s most important unions, criticized the decision and declared that the ministry is necessary to “harmonize the relations between capital and work.”
Since his electoral victory on Oct. 28, Bolsonaro has made a series of confusing declarations about cutting down the number of ministries and the names of those that will head them. He first declared the number would be reduced from 29 to 15, but he later increased that number to 18 as he faced strong criticism from the opposition and allied sectors of society.
He announced he would fuse the environment and agriculture ministries but backtracked shortly after. He also said he would include the Transparency Ministry within an omnibus Justice and Public Security Ministry to be headed by Moro, but later said he will keep it apart.
The Development and Commerce and the Foreign Trade ministries will also be combined into an omnibus Economic Ministry, headed by the neoliberal Chicago Boys-inspired Paulo Guedes.
He also named retired General Augusto Helene as head of the Defense Ministry, but later changed him to the Institutional Security Ministry.
On Wednesday he changed the future number of ministries to 17, making a reference to the number of his candidacy on the ballots.
Meanwhile, the far-right retired military captain already announced his transition team, including seven military officers, a politician accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife and by his sister, and zero women or Afro-Brazilians.