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Latin American Working Class Seeking Rights

February 9, 2012
Plain English Version

After two decades of increasing support for the rights of indigenous workers, there is still unequal treatment of maids, butlers, chauffeurs, gardeners, nannies and other laborers in Latin America.

Laborers are better educated and entering the middle-class. They are less tolerant of abuse and discrimination. They are demanding more pay and benefits.

An incident in which a parking attendant was beaten by a wealthy client became a national controversy in Mexico. The attendant went to the police to file a complaint. He went on television to condemn the client. There was outrage at the treatment and the client apologized.

In Chile, maids and nannies are demanding bigger salaries and more benefits and insisting on living with their own families. An expert says, “Domestic workers know their work has a high value.

Salaries have risen to at least $500 a month for a nanny who works five days a week and as much as $800 a month for a live-in maid. Employers are also responsible for taxes, food, and transportation.

Wealthy people are hiring immigrants from Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay and paying them lower wages.

Economic growth in Latin America is creating a larger middle-class. Many more people are exposed to the educational system and are learning what they deserve as citizens of a nation.

An expert said, “Low cost labor is becoming scarce.  The Latin American elite will have to get used to it.”

The Christian Science Monitor


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