April 18, 2020

‘The account of the crisis has to be divided,’ says lawyer on the STF’s decision on MP 936

MP will give more security to companies to relax rules. Photo: Archive

by Rennan Setti

RIO - According to Fernando Peluso, partner at Peluso, Stüpp e Guaritá Advogados and coordinator of the Labor Law course at Insper, the decision of the Supreme Federal Court (STF) to guarantee the provisional measure (MP)936 brings legal certainty and will speed up the reaction to the crisis by companies.

What does this decision bring about?

It brings legal certainty. Lewandowski's injunction accommodated the situation because it allowed for negotiation with the employee but said she needed to be submitted to the union. This caused some companies to stop negotiations awaiting the plenary, and others simply resigned. Now all you have to do is report it to the union, not, say, ask for their blessing. Businesses were eager for this legal pacification.

But will it save jobs?

No doubt. People need to be aware that the bill for the crisis cannot be paid by the business community alone, because they will not make it. Brazil is the country of small and medium and companies. This will save jobs because the owner of the restaurant, the beauty salon, will have security to make a deal with the employee, who can receive part of the government. Everyone splits the bill.

But why would unions get in the way? Aren't workers the weaker side in the negotiation?

Doing it directly with the employee is faster. In a crisis, keeping the payroll for 15, 20 days can bankrupt the business. In a normal context, negotiations with the employee are indeed a problem. But we don't live in a common situation. What is better, having a reduced salary and receiving a share from the government or losing your job? We have to see both sides.

Is there no risk of abuse? In France, there is a perception that companies that did not need to cut wages...

Bad faith is always possible. But the reduction in wages is accompanied by a reduction in working hours. Soon, the company will have its productivity impacted.