Once again, unions continue to make a difference in occupational health and safety. On March 13, SINATHIT, the Tottus Big Box Stores Union in Peru, proposed that the company implement a number of necessary measures in relation to a possible COVID19 escalation, and after hearing the statement from the Peruvian Minister of Labour, Sylvia Cáceres, saying that quarantined workers should advance their vacations or use them for this period of sick leave.
In view of the Minister’s statement, the company management informed that the workers who are put in quarantine for prevention or because the virus has been detected, will be granted paid sick leave or the health care provider’s recommend rest period. On the other hand, preventive measures continue to be taken in the case of Pregnant women workers who will also have leave with pay, and workers with high probabilities of being infected will be sent home. They also agreed to reduce working hours, having employees leave at 9:00pm instead of 10:00pm (although they usually leave at 11pm when there are no more customers in the store), thus improving labour mobility.
Melchor Burga, General Secretary of SINATHIT, informed that the union had already been working on good habits in the organization together with the Committee on Health and Safety at Work represented by the workers, but that it was necessary to touch on these issues: “Since the daily reality of workers has changed, we have increased our dialogue with the company regarding good health and safety at work practices and habits, not only for store workers but also for outsourced workers”.
“In addition to the already difficult situation we were going through, we were concerned about the minister’s statement, but through dialogue and by working with our brothers and sisters we have shown that we are bigger than our problems. In the coming days we will provide more actions to continue improving the conditions of commerce sector workers in Peru”, he concluded.