Peruvian farm workers resume road blockades after reform bill stalls

On Monday, workers from agricultural export companies in Peru have renewed protests after their government failed to reach an agreement to reform the sector and address their complaints over poor pay. Hundreds of agricultural workers are blocking the Panamerican highway that runs along the coast in the southern Ica region and the northern La Libertad region.

During a similar, five-day protest in early December, hundreds of passenger buses and trucks loaded with food were stranded by road blockades. The previous protests ended after Congress repealed an old agriculture promotion law that workers complained put the rights of big companies over workers, leaving them receiving salaries as low as $11,00 daily.

Over the weekend, however, Congress failed to reach consensus on the law's replacement, specifically a clause around higher base salaries for workers, sending it back to a legislative commission instead.

According to kfgo.com, the Association of Agricultural Producers Guilds of Peru (AGAP), which brings together companies in the sector, has said that a call by some legislators to increase the base salary by up to 50% would drive up costs and force them to re-evaluate their investments.

Agro-exports in recent years have become Peru's second-biggest generator of foreign exchange; while Peru is the world's leading exporter of blueberries, it also ships fresh grapes, asparagus and avocados to China, the United States and Europe.

 

Photo source: Dreamstime.com


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