Carlos Eduardo Pimenta*
The closure of the RMNR trial at the STF is yet another demonstration of how constant neoliberal action is in the ideological dispute, even though many prefer to ignore it or be mistaken. But, before the criticism, it is worth a brief history.
In 2007, after long construction between the company and FUP, Petrobrás was ready to adopt its Job Plan, the PCAC. However, with the usual lack of business ethics, the state-owned company imposed a last-minute condition: our well-known RMNR.
The objective was to increase the remuneration of administrative workers, who were then harassed by other companies. And they did so at the cost of leveling the value of the hazard pay.
The wording of the clause, drawn up unilaterally by Petrobrás, has always been criticized by advisors and union leaders. Petrobrás’ intransigence and arrogance are the main causes of the entire judicial development that followed.
The resulting flood of cases discussing the matter generated robust jurisprudence favorable to workers. Then, in the 2nd round of the 2014 presidential elections, Petrobrás, certain of Aécio Neves’ victory, sought to “unify” the understanding of the RMNR in the TST. The strategy was simple: with the change in the Executive and using the prejudiced argument of “super salaries” (entitled to the “paycheck theater” shown to TST ministers) victory seemed guaranteed.
However, Aécio’s defeat froze the process until the coup against Dilma in 2016. Even more encouraged by Lula’s arrest in 2018, Petrobrás managed to put the case to trial in the TST Plenum where, after an intense struggle, the workers won by one vote: 13 to 12.
Defeated, Petrobrás appealed to the STF to suspend the effects of the “final” labor decision. They invented an unconstitutionality that received a kind welcome from Toffoli, then president of the court. A welcome that then turned into a party, when the case went to the case’s rapporteur, Alexandre de Moraes.
The “huge economic and social relevance”, with “great repercussion highlighted by the media”, declared by Moraes to justify the need for STF intervention on the subject, has a name: neoliberalism. Ideology that preaches the economic freedom of companies, even at the price of hunger. “Unions get in the way,” said Barroso, the current president.
The RMNR judgment is the consolidation of an ideological dispute and is not a legal or technical discussion. Even though there is still a limited possibility of recourse through the courts, the fight for worker awareness and the strengthening of unions is essential to balance this “scale”. And not just in the dispute for RMNR.
* Interim. Lawyer at the Norman Rodrigues office, which provides advice to FUP and Sindipetro-NF. [email protected].