Solidarity with Guatemala

Violation of trade union rights is rampant in Guatemala, where more than 80 trade union leaders have been murdered in in recent years.

The ILO supervisory bodies have been examining this situation for many years, but the progress achieved is limited. As a result, workers’ delegates lodged a complaint against the country during the International Labour Conference in 2012. The Department of Labor of the United States of America has reached similar conclusions under the review mechanism of labor clause of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR). Successive governments in Guatemala have pledged several times to address and remedy this situation, the last of these attempts being the adoption of the Roadmap in 2013.

PSI missions visited the country in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, and created the PSI Coordination Group, which has been campaigning to strengthen the trade union movement and leading the efforts to achieve a significant improvement on matters related to freedom of association in the country.

Trade union leader killed in Guatemala

30 June 2016
Brenda Marleni Estrada

Brenda Marleni Estrada, trade union leader from Unsitragua Histórica, was killed in Guatemala City on Sunday June 19, after receiving five shots by unknown individuals. Brenda served for several years as part of the team of advisers and also occupied the sub-coordination of the Legal Council Commission in her union.

Another victory in Guatemala’s fight against corruption

04 September 2015
Manifestaciones en Guatemala

Congress stripped President Otto Pérez Molina of his immunity from prosecution and Judge Miguel Angel Gálvez immediately ordered his arrest. The judge is also dealing with the the case of "La Línea", a criminal gang alleged to have organised a customs fraud.

Guatemala’s President defies the ILO by cancelling all collective agreements in the public sector

24 March 2015

Only days before Guatemala is due for discussion at the ILO’s Governing Body, President General Otto Pérez Molina, takes the unprecedented initiative of prohibiting the negotiation of collective agreements in the public sector, on the grounds that austerity measures are needed to deal with a massive fiscal deficit.

US to increase pressure on Guatemala over workers’ rights

24 September 2014

PSI welcomes the United States decision to push ahead with legal action to make Guatemala meet international standards on labour rights and working conditions.

Guatemala "must do more" to protect trade unionists

10 June 2014

By Anna-Claire Bevan - Equal Times. The Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina has promised to continue investigating crimes against trade unionists and to provide them with more security if they consider their lives to be in danger.

Featured news coverage of PSI solidarity in Guatemala

10 June 2014

By Anna-Claire Bevan - VICE News. "Guatemala is the deadliest place in the world to be a trade unionist"

Drab på faglige ledere er hverdag i Guatemala

27 May 2014

Af Lene Frøslev og Unna Küssner, Ulandssekretariatet LO/FTF Council - 19. maj 2014

Guatemala’s President defies the ILO by cancelling all collective agreements in the public sector

24 March 2015

Only days before Guatemala is due for discussion at the ILO’s Governing Body, President General Otto Pérez Molina, takes the unprecedented initiative of prohibiting the negotiation of collective agreements in the public sector, on the grounds that austerity measures are needed to deal with a massive fiscal deficit.

Violence against trade union leadership continues in Guatemala

23 October 2013
Melvy Lizeth Camey Rojas, Secretary General of the Department of Santa Rosa in Guatemala has had her life threatened a second time (October 2013).

Latest update: On October 11, Juan Jose Ortiz, SNTSG member and Financial Secretary of the Health Centre of Barberena Santa Rosa, was kidnapped on his way to the city centre. For more than 24 hours he was held captive, threatened and tortured. On 12 October, he was bundled into a car for a short drive, his eyes were then uncovered and he was left in the centre of Barberena. Mr Ortiz does not remember much of what happened; he was apparently drugged and received cigarette burns on his eyelids and eyebrows. He fears for his life and that of his family.

Week of action for Guatemala

22 May 2013
Demonstration in support of imprisoned Guatemalan trade unionists

In Guatemala, more than 50 trade unionists, most of them public sector workers, have been murdered in the last three years alone. In addition, numerous cases of torture, kidnappings, raids and death threats have created a culture of fear and violence.

Voices of the living and the dead cry out for justice in Guatemala

28 March 2013

Two women trade unionists, Santa Alvarado, member of PSI affiliate SNTSG, and Kira Zulueta Enriquez Mena, have been brutally murdered in two separate incidents in Guatemala. These follow on the murder of Carlos Hernández Mendoza, SNTSG union leader shot dead at 8:30 am on 8 March 2013 by two men on a motorcycle. Some five other members of SNTSG were also murdered in the last year as were several civil society activists, including agrarian reform and indigenous right activists.

Speech by PSI leader to Guatemalan President

31 March 2014
Rosa Pavanelli in the Press Conference

Speech by Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, to Otto Pérez Molina, President of Guatemala on 27 March 2014

Speech: PSI leader addresses FNL Congress in Guatemala

31 March 2014
Rosa Pavanelli - FNL Congress

PSI leader Rosa Pavanelli made a keynote address to the Congress of the Frente Nacional de Lucha (FNL) the rapidly growing people's movement in Guatemala that includes many PSI affiliate union members. Some 11,000 people attended this historic event on the last weekend of March 2014.

PSI mission to Guatemala March 2014

26 March 2014
Rosa Pavanelli at Press Conference in Guatemala

Public Services International returns to Guatemala in March 2014.

Here is the 2014 PSI report in English and Spanish on the trade union rights and solidarity mission.

Reports: Solidarity mission to Guatemala

15 October 2013
Members of PSI delegation to Guatemala

A compilation of reports by members of the PSI international delegation of trade union leaders who met with Guatemala’s President and leading ministers on August 13-14, 2013.

PSI Report: Conclusions and recommendations - Guatemala

10 October 2013
PSI Delegation to Guatemala

This report presents the main conclusions of the PSI solidarity mission to Guatemala and proposes a way forward.

Presentation by PSI General Secretary to the President of Guatemala

20 August 2013

For PSI, defending the rights of our affiliate trade union members in Guatemala is our top priority – and it will remain so until the situation for trade unionists and workers in this country improves.

Working for the alternative: Implementing PSI's mandate in 2013 and beyond

19 March 2013

The 2012 PSI World Congress provided a framework for Public Services International's discussions and decisions. However, it is necessary to focus priorities. This document presents a detailed implementation plan for PSI's mandate in 2013 and beyond.

PSI Congress Resolutions

12 March 2013

Resolutions adopted at the 29th World Congress of Public Services International, held in Durban, South Africa, 27-30 November 2012. The resolutions are available in English, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Japanese and Russian.

Resolution 15: Against impunity in Guatemala

30 November 2012

The 29th World Congress of Public Services International (PSI), meeting in Durban, South Africa, on 27-30 November 2012 

PSI follow-up mission to Guatemala

24 March 2014

A PSI international delegation returned to Guatemala in March 2014 to follow-up on the trade union rights and solidarity mission made in August 2013.

Event: Trade union rights in Guatemala

26 November 2013

Please join us to meet Luis Lara and Dora Regina, the leaders of PSI affiliate SNTSG (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Salud) and leaders of the Frente Nacional de Lucha : They have come to Brussels to meet the EU Parliament and European trade unionists. Dora and Luis will give a short talk, followed by a reception.

Mission to Guatemala

25 June 2013

The global union federation Public Services International is leading an international delegation of trade union leaders to meet with Guatemala’s President and leading ministers on August 13-14, 2013.

Video: In the light of justice - Guatemala

16 December 2013

Guatemala health workers share their stories in PSI’s new documentary "Guatemala: In the light of Justice" (7 minutes).

Audio: Radio interviews - 2013 Guatemala mission

04 September 2013

Guatemala is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for unionists. Public Services International (PSI) sent a delegation to investigate and ask the Guatemalan government to stop the attacks on unionists in the country.

Video: 2013 Mission to Guatemala

04 September 2013

View on youtube all the videos relating to PSI's mission to Guatemala

Photos: Solidarity mission to Guatemala

13 August 2013

Solidarity mission to Guatemala, 12-14 August 2013

View all photos on Flickr

Video: Interview with Luis Lara - SNTSG, Guatemala

26 June 2013

During the International Labour Conference in Geneva, June 2013, Public Services International interviews Luis Lara, President of Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Salud de Guatemala (SNTSG), a PSI affiliate.