Chile court tosses key part of president's labor reform law

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 27, 2016 5:59 PM

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A top court ruled on Wednesday that a provision of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet's landmark labor reform legislation was unconstitutional in stating that only unions could carry out collective wage negotiations with companies.

The legislation, aimed at strengthening organized labor in the South American country, was passed by the Senate in March after a bruising battle that opened divisions within the governing Nueva Mayoria coalition.

"The (stipulation) was voted unconstitutional by six votes in favor and four against," said Rodrigo Pica, secretary for the court.

In a last-ditch attempt to derail it, conservative lawmakers had filed a motion against some aspects of the bill in Chile's Constitutional Tribunal.

"For more than a year and a half we told the government, in all manner of ways, that their intention of giving unions a monopoly and obligating workers to join a union in order to get the benefits (that are negotiated) was unjust and unconstitutional," said opposition Senator Andres Allamand.

The tribunal rejected as a violation of constitutional law the provision of the reform that said companies could only negotiate with legally designated unions for collective wage talks.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Tom Brown)