Dubbed ‘the law for youth slavery’, Fujimorista legislator Rosa Bartra’s draft legislation has led to street protest and a pledge from other members of Congress that it will not pass a second reading. The reaction has been so strong that Bartra herself has called for its withdrawal until it can be improved.
The main bone of contention is that this modification to the law on technical training would mean that, to be able to graduate, students would have to undertake 20 hours a week (four per day) of practical work related to their training, but without pay. This would total 448 hours of unpaid labour over a three-year period. According to the proposal, students would be unable to graduate unless the full period of unpaid work had been completed.
Bartra claims that this does not constitute ‘work’ but training, but legislators from other political parties immediately said that the measure would be discriminatory and exploitative.
Students have taken to the streets to protest against it, not just in Lima but also in other cities around the country. Most legislators consider that the project is dead in the water and that it should be withdrawn. Some like Wilber Rozas from Frente Amplio consider this yet another example of how Fujimorismo seeks to undermine citizens’ rights.
In 2015, a bill designed to introduce discriminatory legislation for youngsters (the so-called Ley Pulpín) had to be withdrawn because of the protest it generated.