Introduction

This report on the respect of internationally recognised core labour standards in
Guatemala is one of the series the ITUC is producing in accordance with the Ministerial
Declaration adopted at the first Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) (Singapore, 9-13 December 1996) in which Ministers stated: “{We renew our
commitment to the observance of internationally recognised core labour standards.}” The
fourth Ministerial Conference (Doha, 9-14 November 2001) reaffirmed this commitment.
These standards were further upheld in the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work adopted by the 174 member
countries of the ILO at the International Labour Conference in June 1998.

The ITUC’s affiliates in Guatemala are the Central General de Trabajadores de
Guatemala (CGTG), the Confederación de Unidad Sindical de Guatemala

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Guatemala has ratified all eight core ILO labour Conventions. However in
view of severe restrictions on the trade union rights of workers, discrimination,
child labour and other legal restrictions, further measures are needed to comply
with the commitments Guatemala accepted at Singapore, Geneva and Doha in the
WTO Ministerial Declarations over 1996-2001, and in the ILO Declaration on
Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

Although Guatemala has ratified both ILO conventions on trade union
rights, the protections of the rights defined therein are totally insufficient.
Workers continue to face violent repression of their right to form and join trade
unions, including the murder of trade union activists in a context of total
impunity. There are severe restrictions on both the right to collective bargaining
and to strike. The law and the authorities provide insufficient protection against
anti-union discrimination, especially for workers in banana plantations and
export processing zones (EPZs). All kinds of dubious practices to eliminate trade
unions both in the public and the private sector fail to be penalised.

February 2009

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