Country Study: Peru


The Peru Country Study outputs were produced by ISCOD Peru.

ISCOD Peru has identified domestic workers, market porters, street vendors and waste pickers as the occupational groups for the country study.

Domestic Workers

A law covering domestic workers is in place - LAW No. 27986. Domestic Workers Law, published on June 2, 2003. The law provides for social security and pension coverage as well as limitation on hours of work, rest days, leave. However, there is little implementation or enforcement of the law, and the project has focused on legal empowerment, engaging authorities, and campaigning for implementation.

Laws and Policies on Domestic Work in Peru Available in Spanish:

Market Porters (Estibadores)

FETTRAMAP, acronym in Spanish for the Peruvian Federation of Land Market Porters and Manual Transport Workers, is a Federation of the CUT Peru (a Trade Union Confederation) founded in 1982  with 12 associations or trade unions situated in Lima, Cuzco and Junin. It has about 2,000 affiliates who unload the trucks that bring agricultural products to the wholesale markets. The Porter has multiple “employers” (wholesale traders), lacks a work contract and social protection. He is under the jurisdiction of the Local Government, which is the owner of the markets, but also relates to the private sector as the markets are operated by private enterprises – not interested in contractual obligations with the Porters.

The work of Market Porters is essential to the distribution of products among the population of urban centres, but is characterised by inadequate worker protection, very low income, discrimination, poverty and exclusion. There are terrible health effects of their working conditions, documented in several studies elaborated through Cooperation projects and the Ministry of Health. Occupational health issues due to the excess weight carried, which can reach as much as 130 and 140 kgs on their backs, over exertion, repetitive movements and other risks. This is a risky activity that undermines the workers’ health over time, without having any social protection.

There are two specific laws for this sector. One of them, Ley 25047, regulates what concerns labor rights, social benefits and social security. However, more than 20 years have passed since the law was approved, and the law is not enforced. It lacks the rules for implementation (a set of norms that Parliament has to approve after the Law has been signed), and authorities at the Minister of Labor constantly argue that its application is not viable given that this is a highly informal sector. Ley 29088 and its rules for implementation regulate the technical aspects of the porters work and its occupational health and safety. However, it is also not enforced as in the previous case. Therefore, it is necessary to look for different dialogue mechanisms with authorities, both local and national, for the enforcement of these norms.

Waste Pickers

Waste Pickers’ organizations with their allies struggled to obtain the General Law of the Waste Pickers, Law 29419, which was finally ratified by the Ministry of the Environment in 2009. This Law establishes norms for the inclusion of waste pickers in the Municipal solid waste Management systems, and gives a range of time for Municipalities to make progress towards that. The Law also includes aspects of social protection in health, but is not very specific. It only states that waste pickers should have access to health services through the Universal Insurance for Health – a program that gradually should incorporate those unprotected to some sort of health service.

Waste-pickers are facing the threat of a draft new Law for Solid Waste Management that conflicts with the progress they achieved with the Law of the Waste Picker in 2009.The project has assisted waste pickers to dialogue with government representatives through a multi-sector board or “mesa” on issues of concern and on the proposed new law.

  • Summary of the Regulatory Framework Pertinent to Waste Pickers in Peru (English and Spanish)

Laws and Policies in relation to waste pickers in Peru (available in Spanish):

Street and Market Vendors

In May 2014, Lima’s City Council passed a new ordinance that governs how individuals are authorized to sell in public spaces. The ordinance covers Lima’s Cercado district, the downtown area, and will have a major influence on the other 42 districts of Metropolitan Lima, a city of almost 10 million inhabitants.

The ordinance, which replaces one that is nearly three decades old, recognizes the vendors as legitimate workers. It has a pro-poor orientation prioritizing licenses for vendors who live in extreme poverty and those such as women heads-of-households, seniors, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. The Ordinance simplifies and shortens processes. It also required vendors to have health insurance. However, the Ordinance does not solve all the problems. The number of authorizations granted still only reaches about half of those who make their living from vending. The unauthorized street vendors will continue to risk punishment, which includes confiscation of their merchandise. 

WIEGO directly supported the consultation process that gathered more than 150 street vendors’ federations. At the consultation workshops, the draft Ordinance was shared and comments and suggestions were taken to improve the text and its content. City Council listened and subsequently improved the Ordinance based on these consultations.

Laws and Policies on Street Vending in Peru Available in Spanish: