Labour minister resignation betokens cabinet changes

10 December 2018

Christian Sánchez resigned as labour minister on 7 December, paving the way for cabinet changes. He did so following weeks of rumours that he disagreed with President Vizcarra’s proposals for labour reform.

Vizcarra used his platform at the annual meeting of business executives (CADE) at the beginning of the month to outline proposals to liberalise the labour code, reducing levels of labour protection and holiday entitlements. This agenda, supported by the minister of economy and finance, Carlos Oliva, responds to constant pressure from the business community to lower costs and increase labour productivity.

Sánchez had expressed his misgivings to a journalist working for Hildebrandt en sus Trece, the publication directed by César Hildebrandt. Excerpts of the conversations, conducted over WhatsApp, were released earlier in the week. He told the journalist that “he would resign” following the announcement in CADE.

A cabinet reshuffle is likely to take place this week with replacements announced for Sánchez as well as for Patricia Balbuena, the former minister of culture. Balbuena was obliged to tender her resignation on 30 November following revelations that her ministry had signed a contract with a firm that had links with one of her vice-ministers.

It is normal practice in Peru to use the end of the year to renew the cabinet, and Vizcarra may be planning a reshuffle that goes beyond just these two ministerial posts.

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