Basic text provides that employees will have a tenure of 18 months, and cannot be dismissed without just cause
On the last 5th, the Chamber of Deputies approved the basic text of the bill that allows the Post privatization, transforming the state-owned company into a mixed economy company. In all, 286 deputies supported the proposal, while 173 took a stand against the text. The proposal goes to the Senate for analysis. The substitute approved by the deputy Gil Cutrim (Republicanos-MA) provides that the monopoly of postal services should remain with the Brazilian Postal and Telegraph Company (ECT) for another five years. In addition, the basic text provides that the nearly 100,000 employees of the Correios will have stability for 18 months after the privatization of the company, and cannot be dismissed without just cause. The estimate is that the auction will take place in the first half of 2022. To understand what could happen to employees, the Young pan talked to Priscilla Kirchhoff, partner in the labor area of the law firm Trench Rossi Watanabe, and with Thiago do Val, who is a professor at the Post-Graduate Course in Institutional and Governmental Relations at Faculdade Presbiteriana Mackenzie Brasília.
What constitutes a dismissal for cause?
The text approved by the deputies stipulates that, during tenure, employees can only be dismissed for just cause. Thiago explains that the tool is only used in cases of extreme measures and that, normally, it is not used as a first option in cases within companies. “Just cause is accompanied by some serious misconduct by the worker and is considered an extreme measure, that is, there is a process of investigation of the serious misconduct and it is often necessary to take milder measures as a warning before dismissal”, says the lawyer.
Can employees be fired within tenure?
Within the stability of 18 months provided for by the PL, employees cannot be dismissed from the company. However, if the company does not respect the determination, there are several alternatives that employees can take. According to Kirchhoff, one of the measures is “to file an injunction before the Labor Court, requesting his immediate reinstatement so that he can return to occupy the same position with the same labor rights”. “Another option, if the stable employee understands that it is not possible to return to work at that company, is the filing of a labor lawsuit with the request for payment of an indemnity that would be equivalent to the wages and other labor rights that he would have been entitled to if he had not been dismissed . In this sense, if the worker still had three months of stability, for example, wages and other labor rights would be owed for that period”, continues Kirchhoff. Also according to the lawyer, there is the possibility of employees claiming compensation for moral and material damages.
What is the Voluntary Resignation Plan (PDV) mentioned in the text?
In the approved basic text, it is established that the company must offer a Voluntary Resignation Plan (PDV) for employees and that, upon joining, employees will be entitled to 12-month indemnity and requalification plans. Kirchhoff says that, as it is voluntary, employees are not required to accept and that no sanctions can be applied to them. The lawyer also claims that the POS generates benefits for employers, but requires a counterpart. “The advantage for employers is the overall discharge that the POS generates. In other words, employees who were part of the program cannot litigate in labor law against the employer. The compensation for employees usually involves the payment of a considerable amount of compensation and assistance for reinsertion in the market, as in the case of this PL”, he explains.
Can privatization pose risks to employees’ labor rights?
In Thiago’s view, the privatization of Correios does not necessarily imply the loss of labor rights for employees, since the management that takes charge of the company must carry out a performance analysis. “It depends a lot on the performance of the workers themselves, because as it should happen in any management, there must be performance analysis and work flows. Workers who fulfill their function are normally not harmed, also because every company of years needs this work history for future improvements”, says the lawyer. Kirchhoff, in turn, cites the debates on outsourcing and privatization and clarifies that none of them necessarily lead to the loss of rights. “I believe that, if the company that acquires ECT manages well, the feared losses should not occur. As is debated in relation to outsourcing, privatization does not necessarily imply the loss or reduction of rights”.