Santo Domingo.- If big business succeeds in a Labor Code reform which cuts severance pay, pre and post natal and vacation days, it would unleash nationwide turmoil and social confrontation of unpredictable consequences, union leaders warned Thursday.
Union leaders Jacobo Ramos, Rafael Abreu (Pepe) and Gabriel de el Río vowed to defend workers’ rights in the streets, or in any venue local or abroad tooth and nail, to prevent a violation of their rights obtained ”with much struggle and blood.”
Ramos said the function and structure of Dominican Republic's National Wage Committee’sshould be changed so it debates not only the minimum wage, but all wages.
Del Rio favors a change in the workplace conciliation, which was previously carried out in an administrative manner between employers and employees, a decision now in the hands of the labor courts. "The reform which management intends is impossible, it will not pass, since we’re not going to cave in and let workers’ rights be violated."
Abreu urged employers not to insist on amending the labor code, which in his view is an untouchable point for workers, to avert a breakdown of Dominican Republic’s social and labor peace.
He said reducing or eliminating amounts of severance pay, vacations and time off for pre and post natal women, would stoke anarchy.
Abreu added that what employers want is to set a five year cap for their workers, and in that period fire them at will to hire others.