|05QUITO810||2005-04-14 21:01:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Quito|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 QUITO 000810
1. (SBU) Summary: Minister of Labor Raul Izurieta tells us
he is ready for an ILO-recommended labor consultant to come
to Ecuador as soon as possible. ILO/Lima sent the MOL a
report the week of April 4 outlining areas where Ecuadorian
labor law does not fully comply with international labor
standards. ILO/Lima is waiting for a response from Izurieta
to decide next steps, including the use of a labor reform
consultant. A labor consultant's role in Ecuador has yet to
be defined. End Summary.
MOL Ready For Reform
2. (SBU) On March 31, PolChief, EconChief, LabOff and USAID
FSN met with Izurieta to discuss the status of labor reform.
Izurieta said he was waiting for a report from the ILO which
would include points to be combined with already-existing
reform proposals to increase Ecuadorian businesses'
competitiveness. Embassy officers emphasized the need for
any labor reform proposal to be balanced to reflect both
business and labor interests, and to be created through a
tripartite dialogue. Izurieta said he had recently traveled
to Geneva where he spoke with Arturo Bronstein, a labor law
policy advisor for the ILO, about coming to Ecuador as a
consultant in the labor reform process. Izurieta said he is
ready to have an ILO-recommended labor consultant come to
Ecuador as soon as possible, however he feels that ILO/Lima
has been slow to respond.
ILO Report Outlines Labor Law Deficiencies
3. (SBU) In a conversation with LabOff and USAID FSN on
April 12, Ricardo Hernandez Pulido, Director of the ILO's
Andean sub-regional office in Lima, said the ILO had provided
Izurieta with a report on freedom of association and
collective bargaining, hourly work, company retirement,
subcontracting, and child labor during the week of April 4.
The report analyzed whether current legislation on the issues
meets international labor standards. For issues other than
subcontracting (for which they already presented draft text
in 2004), the ILO elaborated points that could easily be
converted into labor law text, if the MOL requests this. He
said the topics of the report were chosen to reflect USG
labor concerns raised at the FTA round in Cartagena.
ILO/Lima could not share the report with the Embassy until
Izurieta had responded, he said. Pulido also said there was
a 1998 report that specifically outlined labor code reforms
to improve freedom of association and collective bargaining
rights. He said that, if the MOL approved, the ILO could
provide the Embassy with a copy of this report.
4. (SBU) Pulido said he had been expecting a response from
Izurieta on April 11, but the response was delayed due to the
current political situation and strikes. Pulido said he
would continue working on getting a response from Izurieta
and propose a meeting (to include the Embassy, if Izurieta
approves) for the week of April 25 to discuss next steps.
Labor Consultant's Role Still Undefined
5. (SBU) Pulido said that Alfredo Villavicencio, the former
Peruvian Vice Minister of Labor, is still a possible
candidate to come to Ecuador as a labor reform consultant.
Pulido said Izurieta would have the final say on the
consultant chosen and on what role the consultant would play.
The consultant could help only in preparing new labor code
text, or could also act as a facilitator to encourage
tripartite dialogue. He said it still had not been
determined how many times a consultant would come to Ecuador
and how much time he or she would spend here. Pulido said he
would call LabOff once he had a response from Izurieta to
discuss a future meeting in Quito.
6. (SBU) Izurieta seems to have found a new enthusiasm for
labor reform, which is all the more reason to encourage the
ILO to act quickly in bringing a labor reform consultant. We
will continue to urge Izurieta and the ILO/Lima to act with
haste. The Embassy will also encourage any labor consultant
to play a facilitator role, as achieving tripartite dialogue
and negotiation remains a high hurdle.