January 16, 2021

Unions and companies question the constitutionality of the COVID-19 law in Ecuador

Unions, businessmen and the Ombudsman’s Office questioned this Thursday the constitutionality of the so-called Humanitarian Aid Law, approved in the midst of a health emergency by COVID-19 to alleviate the economic crisis exacerbated by the pandemic.

The Ecuadorian Confederation of Unitary Workers’ Class Organizations (CEDOUT), one of the main trade union centers in the country, filed an unconstitutionality claim before the Constitutional Court of Ecuador against said legislation.

For the unions, it is an “illegal and illegitimate” law, which is an affront to the rights of workers and “forces the people to take to the streets, due to hunger and unemployment,” CEDOUT said in its official profile in Twitter

For the workers sector, the law violates rights and violates the constitutional principles of workers.

Approved last month by the National Assembly (Parliament), one of its most controversial points is the dismissal of workers by reason of force majeure or fortuitous event, which will be linked to the total or definitive cessation of the economic activity of the employer.

Legal experts also point out that the rule favors agreements between employers and employees in order to conserve jobs, and that the employer itself, for example, could count days not worked in the framework of the health emergency as vacation days.

The Ombudsman, Freddy Carrión, announced today that the Ombudsman filed his own unconstitutional action against the legislation before the Constitutional Court.

The objective is to prevent the reduction of wages and dismissals due to force majeure from taking place in the country.

At the other extreme, a part of the business sector, specifically the National Association of Producers and Exporters of Flowers of Ecuador (Expoflores), presented an action that questions the changes made to the law before its approval by Parliament.

The executive president of Expoflores, Alejandro Martínez, reported that today a lawsuit was filed that was unconstitutional.

In this sense, for the business sector, the amendments introduced for dismissals due to force majeure will also affect job creation.

The Ecuadorian Business Committee announced that next week it plans to file an appeal against the Government of Lenín Moreno for his conduct of economic policy during the health emergency.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left Latin America and the Caribbean a record record of 41 million unemployed, further aggravated by high levels of informality that have prevented the protection measures adopted by their governments from working fully.

This was revealed on Wednesday by the director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) for Latin America and the Caribbean, Vinicios Pinhero, who stressed that the confinement and closure of the region’s economies have caused “a historical record, the most vacancy registration “, since there are records.


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