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  • Agricultural workers and citizens protesting at the Pan-American highway, Peru, Dec. 30, 2020.

    Agricultural workers and citizens protesting at the Pan-American highway, Peru, Dec. 30, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @patriagrandeuy2

Published 30 December 2020
Opinion

Protesters demand the new Agrarian law to include an increase of the minimum wage, further social benefits, and improved working conditions.

Hundreds of Peruvians Wednesday blocked the Pan-American highway in the Viru province to reject the new agricultural law.

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They deployed vehicles, rocks, and torches on the highway to demand the law to establish a wage increase for the agricultural sector.

The new law, which was passed by Congress on Tuesday, "does not consider our needs. Protests and roadblocks will continue until our demands are considered," Juan Herrera, the secretary of the rural section of the Confederation of Workers of Peru (CTP), said.

On Wednesday, police forces threw tear gas and gunshots into the air to disperse demonstrators. A day before, an officer and a protester were injured during a confrontation.

Early this month, farmworkers took to the streets to demand the repeal of the 2000 Agrarian Promotion Law. On December 5, Congress removed it after a protester died due to police brutality.

Social anger intensified when Congress passed a new law without an agreement between agricultural unions and private companies. Enterprises opposed to increasing the wage for farmers.

"Companies opposed allowing such a measure because it would distort their investment decisions. Increasing wages will boost unemployment considerably," economist Marcel Ramirez replied.

Protesters demand a US$20 minimum wage per day for farmers, along with further social benefits and improved working conditions. Currently, farmers work for over eight hours a day for less than US$11.

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