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The Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT) reaches 70 on the 1st of May with the challenge of formalization. Even with a formal mandatory since 1932, 20% of the entire workforce of the country still does not have a formal contract, which represents 18.6 million employees admitted illegally and therefore they are not affected by the rights of the law. And there are still 15.2 million self-employed without any protection, which are not contributing to the Social Security. The labor market and the laws of the country are the subject of a series of stories that happened at the journal “O GLOBO”.


Born with 922 articles, a number that continues until today, the set of laws is the subject of a heated debate among economists and jurists: will less regulation increase or not the formality in the labor market? And the 70 years of CLT come when the labor market undergoes one of its best moments. The unemployment rate has never been lower, at 5.5% in 2012, wages continue to rise even with rising inflation and the entrepreneurs complain of lack of manpower. The amount of rules - more than 1,700 rules, among laws, ordinances, rules and precedents labor force in the country - is also the target of criticism and defenses.


Born in 1943 during the “New State” a dictatorial period under the rule of the President Getúlio Vargas, the consolidation – CLT - met the existing legislation at the time. According to the Professor of Economic History at UFRJ Fábio Sá Earp, the president Getúlio sought the support of workers in a moment of exception. Brazil begins to change its economy from agrarian to industrial and from rural to urban. It was necessary to regulate the urban labor. The assembled laws were born before, in the 30s and early 40s, such as the minimum wage and the register document requirement. But the CLT has brought a whole new chapter on compensation, change, suspension or interruption of employment. Arnaldo Süssekind, one of the members of the committee that built the CLT, said in a book written in 2004 that the CLT fulfilled "important educational mission, once had created the climate for the country's industrialization, with no violent labor disputes".


Ability to formalize: no consensus


Seventy years later, there is no consensus among experts is less regulation boost formal employment. The former Labor Minister of Fernando Henrique Cardoso government, from 1998 to 1999 and now an economist at Gávea Investimentos, Edward Amadeo says that much of informality comes from the cost and the complexity of legislation. In its management there were imposed temporary contracts and bank hours.


- Of course there is a wealth of small businesses that are unable to afford the cost or complexity of the legislation. The Single system was one of the things that most decreased informality, with the facility of the payment of taxes, and the same would happen with the labor reform.


The sociologist Adalberto Cardoso, professor and researcher at the Institute of Social and Political Studies of Uerj, specializing in labor relations, says that informality exists because there is no formal employment for all. As unemployment is still limited in Brazil (paid for up to five months), the worker uses informal activities to survive.


- There is no formal employment for everyone. Small businesses that have employees do not produce enough wealth to pay taxes, and not just the labor ones. There is no economic conditions to face the world of formality. The Brazilian labor market is the most flexible in the world, the employer may allocate manpower as much as he wants it.


With or without reform, was the CLT good or not for the job market? The researcher of labor and union relations, João Guilherme Neto Vargas, also a consultant at Force Association, is adamant:


- The CLT is the vertebra of the social, political and economic conditions in Brazil. Without the CLT, the society would be dissolved.


For the economist Lauro Ramos, from IPEA, CLT is anachronistic and, in its eagerness to secure rights, eventually created barriers:


- In no country in the world there is the document of our register – the CTPS - a formal symbol of the legal and illegal. Symbol of whose meets or not the law.


Even without a total reform, CLT has been changed like a dropper for decades. The set of articles has already undergone 497 amendments since 1943, besides the 67 constitutional rules in 1988 which were added to the CLT. Since the Constitution of 88, there has already been proposed 255 lawsuits at the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the work rules, according to a survey of the Institutional Settings and Labor Relations Research Group at UFRJ.


- The Labor Code has been amended many times, like a dropper. There are many articles, some of them are questionable, others I believe that have already been revoked. It is necessary to have a clean-up, a great review. This is urgent and relevant to end up with all doubts - says Sergio Pinto Martins, law professor at USP and judge of the labor court TRT/SP.


The details of CLT is also a target for debate. There are 922 articles of the Consolidation of Labour Laws, 295 abridgments of law and 119 orientations (previous normative) of the Superior Labor Court, 193 articles from the Civil Code, 145 abridgments from the Supreme Court and 67 constitutional provisions, according to the sociologist José Pastore. Some consider that Brazil is the country with more labor rules in the world, while others argue that nations like France and Portugal have as many labor laws or even more detailed than ours and that our society today is complex and requires such details.


'On the top of the list of the countries with more rules'


The Professor of Economics and Administration, at the University USP, Helium Zylberstajn says Brazil is "at the top of the list of countries with the highest number of rules." "It's a ridiculous amount." Moreover, Angela Castro Gomes, professor at UFF and coordinator of the CPDOC of FGV, remembers that every Brazilian law is detailed.


With three documents of register of work (CTPS) (1959, 1975 and 1985), the retired Antonio Sousa, 73, had a formal contract registered in 1959, as an assistant.


- A person had to work ten to fourteen hours. I have already turned countless nights working. And there were no holidays. Only in 1963 it started, but there were 20 days off. Today, if his son can study at the university, it is because the father's job can warrant it.


With Lula and Dilma, the reform is shelved


The best moment of the labor market in recent decades lost the focus on the discussion on the need of the reform of the CLT. With the employment growing - to the point of having the lowest unemployment rate in the last ten years, 5.5% on average in 2012, in six metropolitan areas and continues to fall this year - the theme lost place in the economic agenda for discussion logistics and infrastructure of the country, according to experts.


The exchange of the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002), when they were introduced more flexible forms of employment, such as temporary, contract and journey with the adoption of bank of hours for the PT government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, also changed the importance of the topic.


- What there was to happen, concerned to the labor reform, has already happened. Brazil has been growing with the formalization and another ideology has changed the debate – according to the sociologist Adalberto Cardoso.


At the beginning of his government, in 2003, Lula held a national forum to discuss the labor reform, a campaign promise that was reiterated when he was in office. Discussions started by the union reform, but it had no success and was forgotten. The disagreement was so much that it did not even turn into a proposal for change, says Cardoso. And the campaign promise was forgotten during the ten years of PT in power.


In the government of Dilma Rousseff, this hypothesis was buried for good. Unionists present in the meeting with the President said she was emphatic in denying any reform. According to them, Rousseff had said in March 2012:


- In my government there will not be a labor reform. No minister is authorized to talk about it or propose anything along those lines.


According to the Unicamp professor Claudio Dedecca, the issue is off the political agenda. To Edward Amadeo, the strong job creation in recent years has made the reform lose its appeal. He warns that reform is not only to create jobs, but also productivity.


- Brazil's biggest problem today is the low productivity growth. If we had done the reform ten years ago, the situation would be different – he says.

 

Source: O Globo

Text: Cássia Almeida, Lucianne Carneiro

Version: Grazielle Segeti

 

 

 
   

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