Thousands of young Peruvians marched yet again demanding the repeal of a youth employment law. The protesters say the law cuts costs for employers, but rolls back labor rights for young people. CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reported this story from Lima.
Opposition to the Peruvian youth employment law turned violent as protesters clashed with police. Peru’s interior ministry said 16 police officers were injured and about 20 protesters were arrested.
Peruvian government won\'t repeal youth-employment law, despite protestsThousands of young Peruvians marched yet again demanding the repeal of a youth employment law. The protesters say the law cuts costs for employers, but rolls back labor rights for young people. CCTV America's Dan Collyns reported this story from Lima.
More than 10,000 people marched against the law, making it the fourth and largest protest in a month. Protesters call the law ‘Ley Pulpin’ a term that means a young person who can be exploited.
“We’re here calling on this law to be overturned. It’s a discriminatory law for all young people,” student Pablo Bermudes said. “And it’s a law that infringes on all of our juvenile rights.”
The new legislation came into effect in Dec. 2014 and aims to create jobs for 18- to 24-year-olds by cutting their employment benefits, thus lowering the costs for employers to hire them.
“The government says that a big portion of Peruvian youth don’t have rights so they will give them something, that’s their argument,” Peruvian actor Jason Day said.
Under the law, holiday’s will be cut by half, and two annual bonuses and severance pay will disappear.
“We must tell the government that these are rights. They’re not benefits or the employers’ acts of generosity,” Julio Arbizu, a former anti-corruption prosecutor said. “They are rights that our fathers and grandfathers won in the streets too.”
This is not the first time that the youth employment law has mobilized thousands of young Peruvians. Young people around the country are demanding that the law be repealed, but the government is doing everything it can to prevent that from happening.
The government insists the law will enable many young people to join the formal economy, as well obliging companies to give them on-the-job training.
“If this law is repealed, the Peruvian state will once again be turning its back on those 1.8 million young people who today have nothing and with this law could successfully enter the labor market, improving their ability, education, their resumes and, as a result, their employability,” Fredy Otarola, Peru’s labor minister said.
Critics have said the government’s priority is not the young, but big business.
“The government says this will improve training for young people and promote their employability, but at heart it’s not really trying to achieve this, what it’s trying to do is drastically reduce the labor costs for small- and medium-sized businesses,” Javier Neves, professor of labor law at Lima’s Catholic University said.
Thus far the government has rejected calls to repeal the law. However, Congress is expected to debate the law at the end of the month.