In 2016, a fire in a cinema at a mall called Larcomar, owned by a Chilean company, killed four workers who were trapped inside. Some were found just feet from blocked exits.
The deaths this weekend at McDonald’s led many young Peruvians to social media, where they shared their own stories of dangerous conditions at companies across the country.
On Monday, Peru’s workplace safety department, the Superintendencia Nacional de Fiscalización Laboral, said it had begun an investigation into conditions at the restaurant, and that the fast food chain could face its highest fine — up to 189,000 soles, or about $56,000 — if violations were found.
But some said the country is not doing enough to ensure safe working conditions.
Indira Huilca, a former congresswoman who has made labor a priority, said the country has concentrated on attracting private investment while neglecting worker safety.
Many politicians see policies that promote inspections and fines as obstacles to investment, she said. As a result, she added, “everyone knows” that many Peruvians, and in particular young people, work in dangerous conditions.
McDonald’s faces heightened scrutiny for labor conditions around the world.
In recent years McDonald’s and its franchises have been hit with dozens of sexual harassment complaints, including a new lawsuit that accuses the company of “pervasive problems of sexual harassment,” in the United States.
Workers have also begun striking in cities around the globe, calling for better wages.
And in November, the company agreed to pay $26 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the chain of underpaying United States workers at corporate-owned restaurants in California. The suit involved 38,000 employees.
Reporting was contributed by Elda Cantú in Mexico City and Jenny Carolina González in Bogotá.