After recognizing that the Colombian labor sector has serious structural problems, such as high unemployment and informality, and that it is necessary to adapt to technological advances, Gloria Inés Ramírez, Minister of Labor, made a forceful defense of the labor reform project yesterday, in the public hearing that was held in the Congress of the Republic.
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After listening for more than four hours to the arguments and requests of representatives of the digital platforms, production unions and labor unions, the official was blunt when pointing out: «There is not a single article of this reform that does not have a basis in national and international jurisprudence or in the commitments that the country has acquired, which needs this reform”.
He said that the Substantive Labor Code does not reflect the reality of what the country needs in labor matters. For this reason, the Government has stated that the central theme of the project is stability. «This is not crazy nor does it mean chaos, they are legal certainties for employers and workers»said the minister, for whom it is clear that there must be a balance between these two parts.
For Ramírez, it is not true that Colombia is facing chaos, what it is experiencing is a change towards labor justice in terms of wages, job growth, rights, freedom and democracy.
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That is why he invited those attending the hearing to discuss and correct any article of the project that does not respond to a norm, recommendation or jurisprudence, because it is about giving guarantees to both workers and businessmen, the minister insisted on her intervention.
Faced with the criticism received because the project does not have a clear vocation to generate employment, he said that the country cannot be lied to and The Government has designed a comprehensive employment policy that is part of the National Development Plan, through the reindustrialization process, microcredit and the popular economy.
And he said, on the contrary, that although Law 50 made the labor market more flexible, it also made it more precarious, to which Law 789 was later added, created to create employment and reduce informality by lowering payrolls.
The cut of not paying the nightly surcharges with the extension of the day, plus the dismissal without just cause that has been very cheapIt has generated that during these 20 years a minimum wage worker has stopped receiving 33 million pesos per month, according to figures from the Ministry of Labor.
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That is why, exceptionally, Minister Ramírez cannot continue with this model or with the discourse of continuing to reduce payroll costs to create employment because it does not give results.
“You have to look for workers to produce with quality, but you have to pay them in proportion to that process”, he pointed out.
The cons of the project
Although the generation of employment and high informality continue to worry workers, academics, labor unions, analysts and production unions, among others, closing the doors to new hiring modalities, ignoring the reality of the labor market, will lead to the destruction of employment, to its precariousness and will cause a hard blow to productivity and competitiveness.
And so they informed the Minister of Labor, although the list of negative factors, more than the positive ones, outlined by those attending yesterday’s public hearing was much longer, as well as the arguments that point to the damage that it would cause for the labor market, investment, the quality of life of millions of Colombians and the development of the country, the approval of this initiative as it was presented.
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They mentioned, for example, thes suggestions that we have to extend the night shift again, the issue related to compensation for worker dismissalsas well as those that implement new conditions to the strike of workers in all sectors, including those that provide essential public services.
Spokespersons for the employers made it clear, however, that they are not against the fact that this project is intended to improve the conditions of workers, but that it should also aim to achieve much more ambitious and urgent objectives that the country has in labor matters. , such as reducing the unemployment rate –today at 10 percent–, the high informality close to 48 percent, as well as Colombian productivity and competitiveness.