COVID-19 struck Latin America in the middle of what was already a tough economic, political and social period. This policy brief looks into the effects of the pandemic on employment and labour rights in the Colombian and Peruvian large-scale mining sectors. Mining has been severely affected by low commodity prices and demand, interrupted supply chains, national lockdowns and the (partial) closure of operations. Companies have tried to cut costs on the back of their labour force, resulting in layoffs, renegotiations and suspension of contracts. Informal economies around mining operations also suffer from the fall in demand for services and goods. The most impacted groups are outsourced workers and workers in the informal economy, the latter being predominantly women. On the long-term, these countries risks a race to the bottom in terms of labour rights. The brief calls upon (Dutch) companies and investors working in the Latin American commodity sectors to put social and economic justice at the centre of their operations.
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