On 17 July, UNI presented the results of its global survey on the impact of night shift work on cleaners to the Peruvian Congress. The event was attended by authorities from the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations and the Ministry of Health, as well as occupational health specialists, lawyers and national and international workers’ representatives.
“Working the night shift is a double sacrifice with many difficult consequences,” emphasized Isabel Cortez, Congresswoman and spokesperson for the event.
“It is important to highlight an almost invisible but recurrent problem for the sector, and to identify the main effects of the night shift on these workers.”
Congresswoman Cortez was previously a municipal cleaning worker in the city of Lima.
Night time work poses many risks, and the WHO recognizes it as one of the stressors that can damage health. UNI’s survey highlights that seven out of ten workers surveyed have a lack of sleep when working night shift, and also that 45 per cent of cleaners working the night shift said they feel insecure at work.
In Peru, the cleaning sector is a highly feminized sector, with 70 per cent of the workforce being women, and one of the most common problems is job insecurity and harassment. Marvin Largaespada, Director of UNI Americas Property Services, when presenting the results of the global study, emphasized: “This event is the beginning of a discussion on the effects of non-day time shifts and will continue in several countries on our continent. The purpose is to make this problem visible, which is not merely an economic issue, but one that must consider the prevention of damages rather than economic compensation.”
The ministries and unions agreed that it is necessary to review the policies already in place or improve them in terms of this type of discussions. They gave as an example the national labor commission, which would be a place to discuss these very important issues.
Moacyr Pereira, President of the UNI Americas Property Service sector, added: “We have presented some of the main problems of these workers. Unions need to ensure that they can speak with night shift workers and learn more about their situation.”
“Now our goal is to look for solutions to minimize the problems they face on a daily basis, and we are committed to make it happen,” he concluded.