According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the economic and labour crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could see the number of people unemployed globally soar to almost 25 million. To avoid this scenario, the ILO strongly recommends expanding social protection while maintaining jobs and income for workers.
As governments around the world begin to announce measures that meet these recommendations, the government of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil has not only failed to implement any consistent and effective support measures for workers, but on 22 March it also enacted Provisional Measure (MP) 927/2020. This instrument of the Brazilian political system allows the president to take measures that immediately come into force without the need of prior approval from parliament; it is a step that will undoubtedly result in countless losses for the Brazilian working class.
‘MP 927’ as it is known, favours individual agreements over collective bargaining and labour agreements, thereby violating one of the fundamental international labour standards, ILO Convention 98 – Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining. By promulgating MP 927 without establishing any social dialogue mechanism, the Brazilian government once again fails to comply with ILO Convention 154, which outlines the obligation to consult workers in cases of changes such as those promoted by this new labour reform. It is worth remembering that Brazil is currently on the list of the most serious violations of ILO Conventions and Recommendations, presented at the International Labour Conferences of 2018 and 2019. Brazil is accused of contravening Conventions 98 and 154.