Peru: Mass strike and protests targets neo-liberalism in Lima

Thousands of workers mobilised through their labour unions and participated in two marches through Lima on Wednesday to protest against what they label as "neo-liberal reforms," which benefit private companies and not the average worker. The first protest was organised by workers in the state oil company, PetroPeru. Protesters mobilised after the state firm decided not to invest in oil fields in the Talara region, purportedly leaving them instead to the Grana and Montero corporation. Workers claim the country stands to lose around $300 million (€278 million) from the government's decision and have vowed to strike indefinitely if a solution is not reached. The second march targeted 'neo-liberal' structural reforms in the economy, which protesters allege cut workers' rights for the benefit of private business. The specific legislative act that was railed against was Supreme Decree 013, which allows a business to fire 10 percent of its staff if it reports losses for three consecutive months. Trade unionists present at the march feared the act could be utilised against them. More generally, the strikers, trade unionists and protesters demanded improvements in working conditions, challenged the legality of mass lay-offs and called for an increase in the minimum wage.