The National Trade Union of Construction and Services of Guatemala (SINCS-G), a BWI affiliated trade union, has reported that the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor and Social Security has recently approved Ministerial Agreement 140-2020, which authorizes employers to perform full employment contracts suspensions in all industries and allows suspensions to take place without compensation payments for workers.
The government said that the measure will only be temporarily implemented due to the National State of Calamity and nationwide lockdown it declared as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the General Secretary of SINCS-G, Julio Díaz, the agreement aggravates the already complicated situation of construction workers at the national level, since the Ministry of Labor is inoperable due to the lockdown. He said that trade unions have no government institutions to negotiate with and seek alternative solutions to the crisis, without affecting workers. Diaz also said that employers have used the new agreement to enforce the suspension of formal contracts.
“The union’s Board of Directors at the national level will have a virtual meeting to agree on our future actions against this agreement. For now, our immediate task is to identify the best ways to use our trade union funds to provide solidarity support to our members, who have been contacting us about their lack of work and food," concluded Díaz.