Guatemala: Municipal Trade Unionist Murdered

The ITUC and its Guatemalan affiliates within the Indigenous and Rural Movement (MSICG) strongly condemn the murder of Pedro Antonio García, a member of the Malacatán Municipal Workers Union, which is affiliated to the Confederation of Trade Union Unity of Guatemala (CUSG). They also denounce grave violations of workers’ labour and trade union rights, particularly in the municipal sector. The murder took place as Pedro Antonio García was on his way home in Malacatán.

For the past year, municipal workers have suffered serious breaches of trade union freedom and labour rights. These abuses were committed by the State of Guatemala, in its capacity as their employer. The MSICG has worked to formulate strategies to tackle severe violations of trade union rights and has, to this end, presented the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala with seven proposals to reform existing laws and pass new laws as part of a legislative agenda.

The unionised employees of the municipality of Malacatán, led by Pedro Antonio García, organised actions on 5 and 6 January to demand the payment of salaries owed to them from 2009, compliance with the collective agreement and payment of other benefits.

In a letter to the Guatemalan authorities, the ITUC calls on President Álvaro Colom to take urgent measures to find and punish the perpetrators of the crime and do his utmost to ensure that human, labour and trade union rights are respected in his country. "The Government must also make all state aid to the municipal authorities subject to full observance of the ILO’s fundamental conventions, which were ratified by Guatemala," said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates.

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or + 32 476 62 10 18

Photo: Surizar