New youth labour law stirs protest among nation’s students

By February 23, 2018

A controversial legislative measure that has been nicknamed the ‘youth slave law’ is currently in the process of being passed by the Peruvian Congress. Congresswoman Rosa Bartra of Fuerza Popular has become the face of the legislation and has requested a brief pause before the second vote as many students took to the streets to protest the law.

The law will affect thousands of students currently pursuing a recognised program at technical institutes around the country. The measure attempts to restrict youth benefits that would allow students a fair wage while studying and allows some employers to take on students of technical institutes without any compensation at all.

According to Sineace, the national body that evaluates the quality of the tech-education certificates conferred in Peru, over 400,000 young people are working towards a higher degree in technology, ranging from engineering and computer science to automation and agriculture. Lima alone has nearly 200,000 students aiming to complete a recognised higher education program in such institutes.

In consolidation with the students at technological institutes, students from Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, National University of Engineering as well as the universities of San Marcos and San Martin mobilised in downtown Lima yesterday against the legislation.

Student Gustavo Gamboa said to La Republica that “with this law I would be like a slave to the company. I could accept those conditions only for a week because you can’t live for long without money.”

In response to the passing of the bill before Congress, thousands of youth from the Regional Loretan Council will take to the streets to voice their opposition against the law.

Speaking to La Republica, spokesman Carlos Castillo of the regional Council of Loreto Youth said “[t]his law that has been presented by the supporters of Fujimori that seek to favor business; this is a new Pulpín Law. We ask for a seat at the table with the permanent commission of the Congress to discuss the issue.”

The Pulpín Law was a controversial measure that was scrapped (a year after it passed through Congress) for being in favour of big business and cutting back extensively on youth benefits. ‘Pulpín’ is a slang term that comes from a juice called ‘Pulp’, made from concentrate and the term alludes to the inexperience and greeness of youth. Among its greatest dissenters, the law has been offered the unofficial moniker ‘Ley Pulpin Fujimorista’, or the Fujimor-ised Pulpin Law after the leader of the Fuerza Popular, Keiko Fujimori who hopes to bring the law into force shortly.