Peru Construction Workers Win New Pact, Rights

Construction workers in Peru are celebrating a new contract that significantly improves wages and benefits, and are hailing a new legislative order, which in part addresses ongoing violence against union members in the building and construction trades.

The new one-year contract gives workers up to a 5 percent wage increase and includes education benefits for workers’ children up to age 22. Construction workers also will receive bonuses for hazardous work, time off when working more than 27 consecutive days on a project, and an additional 25 percent of their wage when working at night.

The FTCCP also negotiated an agreement with the Peruvian Chamber of Construction to conduct free professional training courses at the federation’s training and recreation centers in conjunction with the National Training System for the Construction Sector Ministry of Labor and Employment Promotion.

“The collective bargaining agreement benefits the workers, democracy and the country,” La Federación de Trabajadores en Construcción Civil de Perú (Federation of Civil Construction Workers of Peru, FTCCP) said in a statement.

With the new contract, FTCCP members’ average base pay will be $750 per month, and up to $1,250 per month with overtime. The vast majority of Peru’s workers, 70 percent, are employed in small and micro enterprises where workers generally earn a $250 per month minimum wage. Approximately half of workers in the construction sector are union members. Non-union workers can request “me too” clauses for their individual contracts that bring them up to the union wage scale.

In another sign of construction workers’ growing influence, Peru’s executive branch published a legislative decree in mid-August that charges police special units with preventing violence against construction workers.

More than a dozen construction union leaders have been murdered in the past five years, most recently last month, when Miguel Cotelo Villanueva was murdered leaving a union organizing meeting in Casma, Peru.

In addition, the decree takes steps to ensure safety and health on construction sites by requiring local governments to notify the police when construction permits have been filed, enabling timely workplace inspection and enforcement of labor and safety standards.

The decree also mandates that union dues must be paid by the employer into the union’s financial institution.

The FTCCP is a member of the Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú (General Confederation of Workers in Peru, CGTP), both Solidarity Center allies.