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Workers convoke a General Strike against Temer’s Reforms

By: The Dawn

The strike called upon this Friday may be the biggest that Brazil has lived in the last years. The general strike will unite different areas of workers as a way of protest against the “reform” projects proposed by the non elected government of Michel Temer. The Evaluation of Categories, the Retirement Reform, the Labour Reform and the already implemented, Outsourcing Law, harm the workers situation all around the country. Every syndical central of Brazil joined to make this Friday 28, the day that people will strike in defense of the rights of Brazilian workers.

The project with the biggest rejection, is the Retirement reform, which modifies the retirement rules for urban and rural workers. In the actual law, there is no minimum age for retirement, but there is a prerequisite of  a 15 years contribution to the Social Security National Institute (INSS). And to receive the integral value of the retirement, it is required to be affected by the “85/95 formula”, numbers equivalent to sum of the age and years of contribution of the beneficiary, being 85 for women and 95 for men.

But, according to Temer’s proposal, those rules must change. To apply for retirement, any man or woman must contribute to Social Prevision for a minimum of 25 years, and the retirement age is set from 65 years old and on. To receive the whole retirement wage, a person should contribute for 49 years, without differentiation between men and women. Temer’s proposal also closes the special retirement for rural workers.

The president of the Workers’ Unique Headquarters (CUT Pernambuco), Carlos Veras, claims that the project is “criminal”. “Temer wants to force us to work and pay for 49 years to have a full pension. He wants to end with the benefits of retirement, to then privatize Social Prevision and increase the profit of banks”, says Veras. According to the survey of Vox Populi Institute, divulged on April 13, 93% of Brazilian population is against the retirement reform.

Another proposal that is being treated at the National Congress is the Labour Reform. The non elected government says that the changes at the labour laws will facilitate contratation and reduce unemployment. But the workers have concluded that the project reduces their rights in order to increase the earnings of the owners without any guarantee to increase work. One of the changes of the reform suggests the division of the vacations, which could be divided up to three short terms. In the actual Law, defined by the Labour Laws Consolidation, the maximum working day is of 8 daily hours and 44 weekly hours. With the new reform, the maximum per day would be of 12 hours, with a 30 minutes break, and 48 weekly hours.

Passed by Temer on March 31, the “Law of Unimpeded Outsourcing” is already in force. The law allows patrons and public power to outsource any category of workers. With the previous rules, only the workers that did not exercise the final activities of an institution could be outsourced. At a school, for example, the final activity is education. So teachers had to be hired directly, while the cleaning staff could be outsourced.

But with the new laws approved by Congress and passed by Temer, now teachers can be hired through outsourcing. If the government or a school owner wanted, they could hire an outsource company and ask for teachers for the institution. The school, or government, will not pay those salaries, but the outsourcing company will. The same could happen at hospitals, with medics and nurses; in newspapers; and in every other category of work, except in the Judicial Branch and in the Police.

The university professor Silvana Crisostomo, militant of the Women’s World March, claims that the women are the most injured by Temer’s reforms. “Work precarization is more present at the lives of women. We are the ones that suffer more layouts, job rotation and informal work. How will women contribute more to retirement? With the new rules, it will be even more difficult to retire”, warns Crisostomo.

According to the teacher, matching the retirement age between women and men is another harmful factor. “In the patriarchal system that we live in, the home and children responsibilities are laid upon women, and are not paid for it. So it ends up being more work for us, because we work outside and inside the house. According to the IBGE study, women work 55 hours weekly, while men work 50, and besides, women have lower salaries”, she informs, claiming that the situation of negro and poor women is even worst.

The subway worker Valmir Assis, is one of the many people that will strike this Friday. For him, “strike is the biggest tool of the working class”. “We know that the great businessmen and patrons are the ones that rule over the government. And when we call upon a strike, we are putting our working force inside this political dispute”, said Assis. “When we stop working, we economically harm the businessman that control politics. Is a way of saying that we do not want our work to feed that machine, we do not want the fruit of our work to be used against us, vanishing our rights”, points out the subway worker.

In the last weeks the catholic organization National Conference of Brazilian Bishops reaffirmed his position against Temer’s reforms, example followed by many religious leaders outside the country. The archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Don Fernando Saburido, also manifested himself: “Dear brothers and sisters, men and women of goodwill, I call all of you to take part on April 28 of the great mobilization against the reforms”. “As far as we understand, the proposal goes against the rights guaranteed at the CLT (Consolidation of Labour Laws) and at the Federal Constitution of 1988. That is why I call for a mobilization of all the people, and to raise our voice in the name of us, of future generations and of the millions of unemployed people, to protest against the labour and retirement reforms”, said the catholic leader.

At the same time of the general strike, the syndical headquarters are organizing, along with the Brazilian Popular Front and the People Without Fear Front, an act against Temer’s reforms. The manifestation will be at the 14 hours at the Derby park.

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