Peru: Telecommunications Workers Protest At Telephone Company's New Employment Strategy


Brussels. September 18 1997. (ICFTU OnLine): Workers in Peru are protesting at measures brought in by the national telephone company, which have led to layoffs, the extensive use of temporary contracts, and subcontracting.

The Peruvian Federation of Telecommunications Workers (FETRATEL) and the Central Union of Telephone Workers of Peru (SUTTP) are petitioning the head of the Peruvian Telephone Company over their concerns, and also organised a march on September 18 to publicise their grievances.

Workers in the telecommunications union are protesting over the illegal sacking of 85 skilled personnel, and by the cut in permanent staff, as the telephone company uses more and more contract labour. The unions are also concerned that job evaluation being carried out by the management will be used as a method of getting rid of permanent staff.

In its petition, the union also refers to the way in which young people are being employed as cheap labour on youth employment schemes to fill posts, and are forced the work long hours for minimal pay, and because of their terms of employment, are not covered by health and safety regulations.

The union is also protesting about the use of over 30,000 people on short-term contracts, and on the extensive way in which the company is subcontracting technical work to unqualified staff who have not received any training.

The ICFTU has written to President Fujimori asking him to intervene personally to get the 85 workers reinstated, and to ensure that the working practices of companies in Peru conform to international norms, as laid down by the ILO, to which the Peruvian government is a signatory.

The telephone company's attempts to cut costs in this way, which are triggering workers' discontent are curiously at odds with President Fujimori's populist move to offer subsidised public services to the poorest sectors of the population, which would one would have thought included public sector workers. Fujimori has promised to subsidise electricity rates in poor urban neighbourhoods and depressed rural areas, in what is seen as a vote-catching measure by political commentators.

This article is reprinterd from ICFTU Online, published by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

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