Labor & Workforce

Colombia presents ‘ambitious’ labor reforms with social justice focus

Bogotá, Mar 16 (EFE).- The Colombian government presented Thursday what it described as an “ambitious” labor reform project to improve the conditions and income of workers.

The event was led by Minister of Labor Gloria Inés Ramírez, accompanied by Vice President Francia Márquez, Minister of the Interior Alfonso Prada, and other officials, with President Gustavo Petro closing.

“We have the most ambitious labor reform of this century,” said the labor minister at the ceremony in the Plaza de Armas of the Casa de Nariño, the Colombian presidential headquarters.

According to Ramírez, the text to be sent to Congress for its discussion and approval “will allow us to move towards a society that recognizes the importance of labor human rights, dignifying the value of production from a human sense.”

The minister said the reform that will now begin its process in Congress “will guarantee the labor rights of the nearly 22 million employed persons in the country, of whom 8,992,000 are women and 13 million are men.”

The initiative also includes sectors that have traditionally been marginalized from labor laws, such as domestic service employees and informal workers.

After emphasizing that the plan had been discussed with companies, unions and workers, Ramírez said that a fundamental part of the initiative is “labor formalization with decent wages that can provide well-being for Colombian families.”

Petro held a symbolic signing of the bill with Ramírez and gave a closing speech in which he highlighted social disquiet in other parts of the world, such as France, which plans to raise the retirement age.

“Today, if we look at Paris, if we look at Colombia, if we look at Latin America, there is a resurgence of the dispute for dignity of labor, even the struggle for more free time, which is where you can build spiritual wealth and the quality of life,” he said.

The president referred to an increase in social inequalities across the “entire planet Earth that has not been experienced since the years before World War One” and that the only way to overcome the economic crisis “is for families to have a better income so that they can build a greater internal market (for each country) and so that they can overcome poverty.”

“What this project presents is a global chapter from Colombia on the dignity of work,” he said.

He said the bill “must also cease sexual and labor harassment in the country” because existing temporary contracts end up being a form of pressure on workers.

The initiative also includes “flexible hours that make family life compatible with personal life and work,” Minister Ramírez said.

She also emphasized the “collective right to work” to refer to the union movement as an important element, which she defined as “the most progressive reform in the last 30 years in favor of social organization, recognizing that unionism is part of our democratic essence.”

For the drafting of the bill, cases from Mexico, Spain, Chile and Argentina were studied.

The reform is the third from the Petro government, which last year obtained the approval of the tax reform, in February presented health reforms, and before the end of this month will take the reform of the pension system to Congress. EFE


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