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Former Labor Ministers keep an eye on the reform proposed by the Government

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Former Labor Ministers keep an eye on the reform proposed by the Government

ONE OF The most important issues in Congress these days is the labor reform, with a project that the Government filed again, after it collapsed in the previous legislature due to the controversy generated by its scope. In addition, this week the Conservative Party also presented a proposal.

Production unions, businessmen and unions have spoken on the issue. On this occasion, EL NUEVO SIGLO consulted three former Labor Ministers for their opinion on the Casa de Nariño initiative. They were asked the following questions:

What is the labor reform that the country requires?
How do you see the second version of the reform presented by the Government? What are the weaknesses and strengths?
Do you see an agreement between the Government and Congress possible?

Angel Custodio Cabrera

Any labor reform that is intended to be implemented in the country must have several factors. First of all, it will always be seen well to defend the rights of workers, to improve their conditions, that should always exist. Secondly, a labor reform must seek to generate jobs, which allows employers, and the people who do it, to have better conditions.

A third factor would have to do with combating informality, which is one of the most delicate issues that the country has, and even more so after the pandemic. With these three factors I believe that Colombia requires a labor reform.

Obviously, other issues that will always be there, such as collective rights, union rights, will always be the subject of discussions.

The total essence of the labor reform is maintained, that is, the obligation that has to do with the indefinite-term contract, which helps with job stability, but it must also have flexibility in some cases. On the other hand, what has to do with the union right remains the same, collective agreements are eliminated and practically the message is to protect the union right.

Labor costs remain the same, we are talking about the implementation of overtime, not night increases, the Sunday surcharge, which affects small and medium-sized employers.

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It sends good messages regarding combating informality, which seeks, for example, in the case of digital platforms to be formalized and that helps stability, that means the figure of independent contracts for this sector ; and also social security contributions for sectors such as agriculture, and the loading and unloading of merchandise sectors.

What happens is that we are living in a political moment prior to an election, politically Congress always asks for the elections to end and then it is discussed. And I do believe that if all the actors sit at the table, a consensus can be achieved, that is what must be promoted quickly, even though President Petro has sent a message to reach a national agreement.

Clara Lopez Obregon

The labor reform that the country requires is the one that the national government has presented for the consideration of Congress, obviously improved within the deliberation and legislative process. Legal products are not delivered to Congress as finished products, but as the discussion that Congress must give to reach consensus and agreements.

In my opinion, this reform that the Government presents to Congress for consideration is appropriate, it does not bring anything new, everything was repealed in some way during the last years through labor counter-reforms that are now being sought to be amended. And as far as collective bargaining is concerned, they are basic criteria and international standards in practice in the ILO and the European Community.

The strengths, what makes the individual work right; It is important that the daytime shift is cut from 9 at night, which has nothing to do with the day, to 7 at night, leaving it at 13 hours, within which the 8 hours of the working day are distributed.

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What this allows is to expand the space within which overtime hours that have a nightly surcharge of 35% must be paid. With the approval of the law it would start at 7 pm, and the Sunday pay, which today is 75% of the salary, would be increased to 100%.

It would be viable if the unions had some openness. I read an interview that says that the minister has not spoken with the businessmen, that she has not presented the project to them, when it is public knowledge that the project was taken to the Labor Policy Commission of the Ministry, where the unions, the businessmen sit. and the labor confederations, and the Government represented in the Ministry of Labor.

What there is is disagreement about what the content of the norm should be, and without a doubt what the Legislature should proceed is to listen to all points of view, both from the representatives of capital and the representatives of labor, to see the terms that best suit society. What we cannot do is return to the times when labor standards were dictated and employers reduced labor costs.

angelino garzon

The most important thing is to stimulate dialogue and agreements between the Government, employers and workers, where each is and on the basis of improving income and labor and social security guarantees. Regarding the second, I not only see it as viable, but also urgent regarding all these labor issues.

Status of reform projects

The Minister of Labor, Gloria Inés Ramírez, filed the labor reform project on August 24, with few changes compared to the first initiative that collapsed in the last legislature in the Seventh Commission of the House of Representatives due to lack of processing, This is because the Government did not achieve consensus with the majority of parties regarding the articles.

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The government reform project will once again begin its process in the Seventh Commission of the Chamber, where the board of directors chaired by María Eugenia Lopera is pending to designate the speakers for the first debate.

Taking this into account, it is unlikely that the debate on the labor reform presented by the Government will begin in said legislative cell before mid-October. What’s more, it is foreseeable that parliamentarians will leave this matter until after the regional elections on October 29, so as not to run the risk of being charged at the polls by candidates who support voting for or against this project. .

Meanwhile, the conservative labor reform entered the Senate, where it will be sent to the Seventh Commission to begin its discussion in the coming weeks.

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