Following a fifth round of student-lead protests, the Peruvian Congress voted this Monday to overturn a labor law that would have stripped young workers of many benefits and rights. The final count was an overwhelming majority of 91 votes to overturn the law against 18, with five abstentions.
The bill, which passed in December, would have affected workers between 18 and 24 years of age by halving their vacation time, eliminating bonuses, and interfering with severance pay and insurance. Students lead the protests against the law, along with labor unions and cultural groups, who organized across all of Lima.
President Ollanta Humala addressed the law on Friday, defending it in a national speech. According to the president, the law aimed to bring two million workers out of the informal sector and into the formal economy. However, those against the law claimed it to be discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Lawmakers argue that the overturning of the law marks a significant loss of control for the Humala administration. This Sunday, Sergio Tejada, who was a member of the president’s Gana Peru political party, quit the party in protest of the labor law, resulting in Gana Peru losing its majority in Congress to the main opposition party, Fuerza Popular. Humala’s approval rating dropped five points in January to a dismal 25 percent.
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