While the unions welcome the Government’s intention to start the night work shift at 6 pm and not at 9 pm, as is currently the case, or to impose a Sunday recharge From 100 percent instead of the 75 percent that exists today, unions are concerned about the additional labor costs that these changes could mean for companies.

(Read also: Labor reform would force even the highest salaries to rise with inflation)

If the reform is approved as it was known in the first draft, the National Federation of Business Merchants (Fenalco) Calculate that companies could assume costs of between 12 and 17 percent and in some cases could rise up to 20 percent. However, from now until March 16, when the Government expects to present it, changes could be made.

In this way, according to his calculations, labor costs in 2023 would increase between 30 and 35 percent compared to last year. This figure comes from adding an additional 2 percent due to the reduction in the working day this year to 47 hours, plus the 16 percent increase in the minimum wage and the costs of the reform, which on average were between 12 and 17 percent.

(You may also be interested in: The labor reform to take another step with businessmen and unions: what is it?)

Faced with this situation, Jaime Alberto Cabal, leader of Fenalco, says that merchants, as well as food, bar, lodging, entertainment, and private surveillance and security businesses, will be forced to reduce costs with fewer people, cutting the number of hours or raising consumer prices.

«The companies that belong to the trade cluster are the ones that work the most at night, weekends and holidays and the ones that will be most affected by the changes proposed by the reform,» he said.

In fact, a survey carried out by merchants reveals that 55 percent of employers would make adjustments related to the reduction of payrolls and reduction of personnel, 27 percent would avoid hiring new employees as much as possible and 71 percent would discard, would reduce or decrease their investments. In order to have more time to discuss the project, Cabal raised the need to postpone his filing until the second semester.

In addition to this, also considering that the reform would bring a increase in unionizationin particular from private companies, as well as the rigidity in the termination of employment contracts and “excessive” job stability.

(Also: Meeting of Petro and Andi: what did they talk about at the meeting?)

For his part, he president of the andi, bruce mac masterwho met this week with President Gustavo Petro to discuss issues such as the reform, said that the red lines of the project are measures that ended up reaching families, employment or that send more people from formality to informality.

“Care must be taken that strong regulations will generate greater unemployment. In terms of economic activity and productivity, we express that our main objective today must be the generation of employment and the reduction of informality”, affirmed Mac Master.

CUT supports the initiative

Rosmery Quintero, president of the Colombian Association of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Acopi), make sure that proposals that could be hard on the business sector are being discussed. For example, he said that he is concerned that the apprenticeship contract will return to employment, that the indefinite-term contract will be taken as a general rule and that the conditions to be able to dismiss a person who does not meet the required profile are much more hard from now on.

Another of the points included in the project is that every worker has the right to have their salary increased by a percentage at least equal to that of the inflation caused as of December 31. Today, it is only mandatory for employees earning minimum wage and the hike is determined based on inflation plus productivity.

(More: 55% of employers would reduce their staff if the labor law is approved)

María Claudia Lacouture, president of the alliance of 41 unions and business associations (Aliadas)points out that under the current situation what is needed is a policy that stimulates the generation of employment and does not make it more expensive.

«An increase in workers’ wages linked to inflation caused goes against job creation, increases the costs of hiring workers and forces employers to be more cautious when setting salary remuneration,» precisely the union spokesperson, who warns that «the labor reform, whose final text is not yet known, cannot put business activity at risk.»

For his part, Francisco Maltés, president of the Unitary Confederation of Workers (CUT), He said that they agree with most of the points that are being included in the labor reform bill. The only thing he asked the government is to file before Congress the ILO conventions that have not yet been ratified by Colombia.

“In 1990, informality was 47.5 percent and today, after many labor and pension reforms, which took away won rights, it is 58 percent. They removed the surcharges and made the dismissal value more flexible. That is, labor costs were reduced and both informality and unemployment increased. So it is not true that labor costs affect employment, ”he sentenced.

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