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U.S. Concerned About Labor Violations in Peruvian Textile, Apparel and Other Sectors

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Labor states that a report released March 18 under the labor chapter of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement raises significant concerns about the sufficiency of the current system to protect the right to freedom of association of workers employed on unlimited consecutive short-term contracts in Peru’s non-traditional export sectors (e.g., textiles, apparel and certain agricultural products). The report also raises questions about the effectiveness of Peru’s enforcement of its labor laws while recognizing a number of positive steps taken by the Peruvian government in this area since the PTPA was signed in 2007.

The report responds to a submission filed in July 2015 by the International Labor Rights Forum, Perú Equidad and seven Peruvian workers’ organizations and accepted by the DOL’s Office of Trade and Labor Affairs in October, thus representing what the DOL calls “the streamlined and timely review … of labor submissions received under U.S. trade agreements.”

The report offers the following recommendations to the government of Peru for addressing the questions and concerns identified. The DOL states that it will use progress toward implementing these recommendations, or similar measures, for determining appropriate next steps in engagement with Peru and will assess any such progress within nine months. 

- adopt and implement legal instruments and other measures to ensure that the use of short-term contracts in the NTE sectors does not restrict workers’ associational rights

- establish offices of the federal labor inspection superintendency (SUNAFIL) in all regions of Peru as expeditiously as possible

- increase support for SUNAFIL’s enforcement activities, including labor inspections and administrative sanction processes, in a manner that allows for more effective and expeditious enforcement of labor laws in all regions

- expand labor courts of first instance and increase the judiciary’s budget for labor cases generally in a manner that allows for more effective and expeditious adjudication and resolution of labor cases

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