See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Peru: Customers Show Support for Ripley Department Store Employees

All links are for Spanish language sites.

Peruvian social networks are buzzing with talk about the temporary closing of one of the Ripley stores from the Chilean department store chain Grupo Ripley Corp. S.A. Although the closing of the store is officially in accordance with the lack of a security certificate issued by the Civil Defense, it has come about in the middle of a long conflict with its employees, who have been protesting for workers’ rights and a raise in salary similar to the Ripley employees in Chile.

The employees, who have declared an indefinite strike soon, allege that not only have their salaries been very low since the past 14 years, but also that the company has ordered them to lie to customers, pressuring them into purchasing insurances and/or sign up for cards without being provided complete information on contract terms, as well as making misleading statements.

Ripley store closed by the municipality of Surco (Photo: Pablo Secada, @psecada)

Ripley store closed by the municipality of Surco (Photo: Pablo Secada, @psecada)

The company, which has been fined in the past by the Labor Department for participating in bad business practices by not paying employees for their workers’ rights, has responded with a public statement in which they deny all of the accusations.

The blog La Otra Orilla describes the alleged practices in question of Ripley stores:

Esta semana, sin embargo, se han ido revelando otras informaciones acerca del modus operandi de tiendas RIPLEY  que señalan, por un lado, que tienen una política laboral, por decir lo menos, precaria (con sueldos de hambre que no superan los 100 soles [US $35] y despidos intempestivos que no reconocen ni compensanciones por tiempo de servicios ni indemnizaciones laborales) y, por el otro, que tienen una política comercial, azas [sic] abusiva, que alienta el sobreendeudamiento de los clientes y el pago de cuotas exhorbitantes a través de la modalidad, también denunciada en otros países, del pago a cuotas a través de la tarjeta de crédito.

This week, nonetheless, additional information has been made known with regards to the modus operandi of Ripley stores. It suggests, on one side, that they have a work policy that is unstable, to say the least, (with starvation wages that don’t surpass 100 soles [$35 USD] and sudden layoffs that honor neither workers’ compensation nor severance pay) and on the other side, that they have…an abusive business policy that promotes over-indebtedness among customers and the payment of excessive fees through credit cards, which has been denounced in other countries as well.

Eduardo Jimenez from the Tips Legales blog comments on the topic and states:

Creo que si en algo se condice el espíritu nacionalista del actual gobierno sería en la protección de sus connacionales, y en el Caso Ripley tiene una magnífica oportunidad para demostrarlo, vía el Ministerio de Trabajo, a fin de determinar las condiciones laborales de los trabajadores PERUANOS de la conocida cadena de tiendas.

I believe if there is anything in line with the nationalist spirit of the current government, it would be the protection of its fellow citizens, and in the Ripley case it has a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate it, through the Labor Department, to be able to determine the working conditions of the PERUVIAN workers in the well known chain of stores.

The media coverage of the so-called “Ripley Case” has moved many Ripley customers to take the opportunity to express their disappointment with the company, organizing a Facebook virtual event called “Campaña para no comprar en Tiendas Ripley” (Campaign Against Buying from Ripley Stores):

Ellxs se llenan los bolsillos a costa del consumo de sus clientes, te invitamos a promover esta campaña virtual en solidaridad con lxs trabajadores para que esta semana no tengan consumo y bajen sus ventas. Demostremos quienes realmente tenemos el poder. Que no se atrevan a despedir ni a intimidar a lxs dirigentes sindicales, ni a lxs afiliados, la sindicalización y el derecho a huelga están amparados por ley.

They are filling their pockets from customer purchases; we invite you to join with this virtual campaign in support of the workers so that this week Ripley won’t have purchases and their sales will go down. Let’s show them who really has the power. They shouldn’t dare fire or intimidate the union leaders or their members. Unionization and the right to protest is upheld by the law.

The case is becoming significant because a fairly large sector of the public is echoing the workers’ demands and expressing their support, like Marcelo Robles:

Este es el momento de mostrar nuestra solidaridad con las demandas laborales de nuestros hermanos trabajadores de la transnacional Ripley!! No comprar nada es estas tiendas,es buena medida de lucha en contra de esa patronal explotadora.

This is the moment to show our support of the labor demands of our brother and sister workers from the Ripley transnational corporation! Not buying anything from these stores is a good measure to fight against this exploitive employer.

Some are asking Ripley stores to give greater and more transparent information about its work policy, like Ivonee L.G. @ilazo):

sería interesante que puedan mostrar un contrato modelo de Ripley con un trabajo o vendedor promedio, quizás se aclare más el asunto(?)

It would be interesting if they could show a model contract from Ripley for an average salesperson or job, perhaps that would clarify things more (?)

Others, like Cathy Martinez () don’t hesitate to mention cases they know personally:

Mi prima como cajera no ganaba mas de 900 mensuales cuando trabaja [sic] en Ripley.

My cousin didn’t earn more than 900 [$328 USD] a month as a cashier when she worked at Ripley.

YouTube user Marciel Soto (Marcialsotosanchez) uploaded this video from the union protests, recorded with his cell phone:

Bertha Ma. Carrillo () wonders if the abuses denounced by Ripley workers are also occurring in other large stores:

@karreb: ¿Lo q pasa en Ripley, no es lo mismo que pasa en SAGA, Oeschle, TopyTop, Él, Vea, Vivanda, Metro, etc y etc?// Todos hacen lo mismo

@karreb: Isn’t what is happening in Ripley the same as what happens in SAGA, Oeschle, TopyTop, Él, Vea, Vivanda, Metro, etc, etc? They all do the same thing.

Pablo Diego Ayllón echoes her sentiment, calling on authorities to intervene:

RIPLEY= abusivos!!! esa cadena tiene que desaparecer del Peru, es un insulto a la dignidad laboral del trabajador peruano. Lamentablemente esto no es novedad, la mayoria de cadenas, mineras extranjeras y empresas transnacionales (como Ripley y Telefonica) que operan en el Peru EXPLOTAN de manera cruel a sus trabajadores. Una verdadera vergüenza!!

RIPLEY=abusers!!! This chain has to get out of Peru, it’s an insult to the dignity of the labor of the Peruvian worker. Sadly, this is nothing new; the majority of chains, foreign mining companies and transnational businesses (like Ripley and Telefonica) that operate in Peru EXPLOIT workers in a cruel way. It really is shameful!!

On the other side, the local newspaper El Comercio has been questioned about the scarce or nonexistent coverage given to the Ripley workers’ conflict. This is attributed to the fact that Ripley stores tend to contract a great deal of publicity in this newspaper, as pointed out in a tweet by Javier Fernandez ():

El Comercio IGNORO completamente la huelga de RIPLEY. Para ellos su divisa es la publicidad. Despues la noticia!

El Comercio completely IGNORED the Ripley strike. For them, publicity is their source of income-the news comes second!

The closed Ripley store (as of August 17) is located in the Jockey Plaza mall, and will not be able to reopen until it obtains the certificate it lacks, a process that normally takes about three days.

The Ripley workers’ union continues its protests on the streets as well as on its Facebook page.

Creo que si en algo se condice el espíritu nacionalista del actual gobierno sería en la protección de sus connacionales, y en el Caso Ripley tiene una magnífica oportunidad para demostrarlo, vía el Ministerio de Trabajo, a fin de determinar las condiciones laborales de los trabajadores PERUANOS de la conocida cadena de tiendas.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site