May 30, 2017 / 3:36 PM / 4 months ago

Brazil's labor reform vote in Senate put off until next week

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The Brazilian government decided on Tuesday to wait until next week to put a bill modernizing labor laws to a vote in the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, its leader in the upper chamber, Senator Romero Jucá, said.

Speaking earlier at an investment forum in Sao Paulo, Budget and Planning Minister Dyogo Oliveira said the bill that will lower labor costs for businesses would clear the Senate this week and be ready for President Michel Temer to sign into law.

The bill, which has already been approved by the lower house, has faced fierce opposition from labor unions that will lose power over workplaces. It also allows more temporary work contracts and outsourcing, eliminating mandatory union dues.

Leftist parties in Congress had vowed to obstruct a vote in the Senate committee where it will be debated this Tuesday.

The vote will take place next Tuesday, said Juca, who leads the coalition of pro-government parties in the Senate. He said the reason to postpone the vote was to avoid a “battle over procedures” in the committee.

Quick passage of the labor reform bill was important for the government to show that its reform agenda aimed at restoring economic growth and business confidence is on track.

Temer’s main proposal for reducing Brazil’s gaping budget deficit is reform of the costly pension system.

But its progress in the legislature has been slowed down by the political crisis sparked by allegations that the president condoned corruption. The fate of the unpopular measure is uncertain.

Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Anthony Boadle Editing by W Simon

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