Comparing the gains
in wage readjustments with the losses owing to “rotation”
in the first half of 2004, we had around 5.1 million workers
hired and 4 million workers laid off. Rotation brought an
average salary loss of 40% for those who were rehired.
WHY SO MUCH UNEMPLOYMENT?
2004, despite the government’s insistence on emphasizing a
slight economic recuperation in the country, there was no
significant impact on job creation. In this article, we will
attempt to analyze some elements that lead us to this
the field of wage negotiations, the first half of 2004 brought
a favorable balance to workers. Around
80% indicated adjustment percentages equal or superior to the
accumulated variations of the National Index of Consumer
Prices (INPC), calculated by the Brazilian Institute of
Geography and Statistics (IBGE). This is the conclusion of the
Inter-Syndicate Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic
Studies, beginning with the analysis of information registered
in the System of Salary Accompaniments.
show that 47% of the negotiations resulted in real gains for
the workers. That is to say, they had fixed indices of
readjustment higher than the necessary percentages needed for
the replacement of wage losses, according to INPC-IBGE. In 21%
of the cases, the readjustment won was inferior, and in 32% it
was exactly equal to this indicator.
recovery in salary negotiations is explained in part by the
reversion of various negative macro-economic aspects which had
made wage negotiations difficult in the previous year. The
salary losses registered in 2003, together with the ongoing
economic recuperation, were the main arguments used by the
workers at the negotiating table.
around 25% of workers at the higher level of income are out of
the labor market. This clearly shows that it is wrong to
believe that unemployment affects only those who supposedly
are not prepared for the changes in today’s market, and
consequently are not meeting its demands. With this data, we
see that unemployment today touches all social levels, which
had not occurred earlier.
important fact is that because of the great quantity of labor
force available, the workers who are hired are earning around
15% less than in previous years. That is to say, because of
the huge contingent of unemployed people, the employers are
paying a smaller wage for the same type of work.
the gains in wage readjustments with the wage losses due to
rotation, in the first half of 2004 we had around 5.1 million
workers hired and 4 million laid off. The rotation brought an
average wage loss of 40% for those who were rehired.
labor market has undergone profound transformations, with the
closing of millions of workplaces, particularly in industry
and mechanized agriculture; the precariousness of employment
and its transfer to the informal market, marked by complete
insecurity; and the absence of support for labor legislation.
with this, the formal labor market is under the threat of
“flexibilization” and reform. The reform proposal
presented by the National Labor Forum contains significant
losses for Brazilian workers.
the changes in the system of labor relations (contracts and
negotiations), the agreements will be able to be negotiated by
the central unions and confederations without the necessity of
approval at the base, that is, a unionism at the top. And in
these negotiations even rights guaranteed by law can be
eliminated. The negotiation would undermine the labor law
itself. This model allows the Labor Ministry to intervene in
the unions, which is a step backward in relation to union
point of the proposed reform authorizes the hiring of
substitute workers during strikes. The proposal restricts the
right to strike and opens the way for the negotiated agreement
to prevail over labor rights.
all these reasons, we consider the union reform proposed to be
an unprecedented step backward for the working class, since it
establishes the strengthening of the central unions and the
weakening of the local unions. That is to say, it
significantly reduces union autonomy.
order to deal with the complex problem of unemployment, it’s
necessary to promote income distribution. One proposal is the
reduction of the work day and the end of extra hours, which
can create more jobs and also improve the quality of life for
the workers. Brazil has an enormous potential to create jobs,
above all by investing massively in the demands of social
movements, such as the building of schools and hospitals, in
basic sanitation and in popular housing. Agrarian reform would
also create millions of jobs.
all this requires an effective action of the State in assuming
its responsibility to guarantee basic rights. It is
appropriate here to question if this is possible while the
government is sending a huge quantity of public money to pay
interest on the foreign debt.
the Brazilian Bishops wrote in their message on May Day
(International Workers’ Day), “the creditors can hope, the
Paulo César Pedrini – Historian and Coordinator of the
Metropolitan Workers’ Pastoral of São Paulo.