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What's in the project that tries to change the rights of rural workers

Among the various threats and loss of rights is the proposal that ceases to consider commuting to the workplace as part of the journey and allows to make the rest period more flexible.

While Congress and the federal government discuss welfare and labor reforms, another bill proposes changes aimed at rural workers. The proposal is authored by Mr Nilson Leitão (PSDB-MT), for whom the changes will reduce production costs and "generate new jobs" in the field.

The labor reform passed in the House on April 27 did not specifically address the rural worker. Bill 6442, specific to the area, was presented in November 2016 and awaits the formation of a special committee, responsible for discussing the proposal before voting.

5 million is the number of rural salaried workers in the country, according to Contag (National Confederation of Rural Workers Farmers and Family Farmers.

In the justification of the bill, Leitão says that the regulations in force is "archaic" and inadequate "to the reality of the field". In the opposite direction, parliamentarians from the opposition to the government Michel Temer and entities representing the category claim that the project precariouss working conditions and subjects workers to a "regime analogous to slavery". There is still no deadline for the bill (which relies on government sympathy) to begin to be discussed. But there are some points that should be considered when it comes to rural worker legislation and this project specifically.

One, i'm sorry. Ruralist bench is representative

Nilson Leitão is part of the so-called ruralist bench, which brings together landowners or field professionals. In the count of Diap (Interunion Department of Parliamentary Advisory), they are 126 parliamentarians (109 deputies and 17 senators) among a total of 513 deputies and 81 senators. "It's a group with the capacity to organize and negotiate to exchange their votes for projects of interest to them," says Antônio Queiroz, a political analyst at Diap. Leitão is the current president of the ruralist bench, affiliated to the PSDB, the main party of the allied base of the Temer government. The party supports the labor and social security proposals, presented by the federal government team

Despite the strength of the ruralist bench, Queiroz says that the bill of Piglet is too broad and the repercussion is so negative that it can drive away the support of the other members of the bench.

Two of them. Project has radical proposals

The text proposed by Pigon is extensive. There are 166 articles, which change from the regulation of the day to the rules of supervision of working conditions in the field. In the first article, the deputy proposes that the CLT (Consolidation of Labor Laws) is not applied in rural labor relations. "Only for this enunciation this project is already an aberration", says Paulo Sérgio João, professor of labor law at FGV Direito SP. For him, the project confronts points assured by the Constitution, which also defines the rights of urban and rural workers. Ana Amélia Camargos, professor of labor law at PUC-SP, says it is reasonable to discuss revisions of labor laws, but with deeper discussions. She cites as an example the labor reform, approved in the House, which had little time for debate. "These are very big transformations to do without discussion. This is more serious when it involves rural workers, who have less access to information and fewer protection mechanisms," camargos said.

Three of them. Occurrence of slave labor is common

The confederations of rural workers claim that the bill could worsen working conditions in the field, which are already considered precarious. According to Contag (National Confederation of Rural Workers Farmers and Family Farmers), 64% of rural workers have no registration in their portfolio. In the so-called "dirty list" of slave labor 2017, released by the Ministry of Labor, among the 83 employers caught for committing irregularities, 68 are identified as farms, sites or cultivation areas. There is criticism from business sectors against the disclosure of the list, but the relationship, which began in 2003, has become an international reference for combating slave labor. It publicly exposes the names of the companies caught, which for two years lose access to financing from public banks, such as BNDES and Banco do Brasil

Changes in salary, work and supervision

For Contag e a Contar (National Confederation of Salaried and Rural Salaried Workers), the bill opens loopholes for the worker to be paid with housing, food or part of the production and not necessarily with money, according to a report in the newspaper "Valor Econômico". The understanding is due to Article 3 of the bill:

"Rural employee is any natural person who, in rural property or rustic building, provides services of a non-eventual nature to a rural or agro-industrial employer, under the dependence and subordination of this and by salary or remuneration of any kind" Article 3 of bill 6442/2016

In the evaluation of labor law teachers heard by Nexo, the article, as it is written, leaves open the interpretation of what can be paid as salary. In a statement posted on his Facebook profile, the deputy author of the bill states that the bill "never raised the chance" to mess with the salary. Leitão states that, in other articles, it is recorded that housing and food do not integrate the remuneration and is stipulated a maximum discount on salary in exchange for these benefits. In the same note, the deputy says that "any adjustments" in the proposal are "normal". "However, what cannot be admitted is the practice of 'social terrorism' by people who have not even read the text," says Leitão.

What most proposes the

project Collective Agreements

It authorizes rules to be regulated by collective agreements, without necessarily following what the law says. It allows the worker to live in the workplace the full sale of the holidays.


The project expands the possibility of the employer outsourcing all labor, as proposed by law recently sanctioned by President Michel Temer for urban work.


It fails to consider commuting to the workplace as part of the journey and allows the rest period to be made more flexible. The journey can also be extended up to 12 hours daily "before imperative need" and up to 18 consecutive days. It also reduces by one hour the period considered as "night work", in which the remuneration is increased by 25%.


The bill repeals health, safety and enforcement standards. The text, for example, says it is mandatory to install a toilet only for every 40 workers and not for groups of 20, as it is currently for urban workers. In case of infractions, the employer will be punished on the "second visit" of the inspector, unless the situation is "of serious and imminent risk". For Labor Attorney General Ronaldo Fleury, the proposal is misguided. "It legalizes slavery," he says. According to him, the Public Ministry of Labor, which has among its duties to oversee labor legislation and mediate the relations between employers and employees, is monitoring the progress of the project. The body evaluates issuing a technical note to assist the work of Members calling attention to the legal issues of the project. In the brief interview below, Fleury talks about the bill and labor rights.

What is the evaluation of the Public Ministry of Labor on the proposal?

Ronaldo Fleury – Using a very short and technical phrase, this project will reprisct the Law Aurea. It's like this bill repeals the Law and we're back into slavery. You admit that a worker being paid for food is something unthinkable in any civilized society. Especially when we are discussing the modernization of labor relations. The deputy's intention goes against a constitutional principle, which equates urban and rural workers. He could even propose a PEC (Proposed Amendment to the Constitution), but not a bill. Therefore, there is already an addiction to constitutionality in the project. Moreover, it is as if you treat the rural worker as someone of second class, with different rights of the urban worker. The proposal does not give a differentiated treatment according to a specific peculiarity of the environment in which he works, but rather a different treatment that interferes with his dignity.

The congressman says he doesn't propose exchanging wages for food.

Ronaldo Fleury The big problem is that the project differs from speech. In rural areas, housing and food are conditions for work. The boss won't pay every day to work to go and go home to go to lunch… They're needs for the job. Talking about collective bargaining agreement in rural areas, for example, is wrong. We are talking about a medium in which part of the population still can not read and write. Will this worker be able to negotiate with his employer? The vast majority of cases of slave labor occur on farms. Three weeks ago we went to a farm in Tocantins, where the workers slept in the corral, in a place with a terrible smell. Proposing legislation of this size, within such an actuality, is not reasonable.

Do the rules for the rural worker need updating?

Ronaldo Fleury –  Currently the regulatory framework of the worker is the Constitution, which is not 30 years old. The CLT itself has already undergone several changes. If you're going to think about reforming every 30-year standards, the country's going to be chaos. The Constitution equaled rural and urban workers and applied to rural people all those rights guaranteed to urban workers. We may even talk about updating the law of rural labor, but it must be done within the principles of the Constitution. And this bill goes far from it. He legalizes slavery. Undoubtedly treats the worker as a thing, by allowing him to work on the journey that the boss deems correct, without rest, without vacation …



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