Systematic anti-union violence continues unchecked in Guatemala

Anti-union violence remains unchecked in Guatemala. Roberto Oswaldo Ramos, the work and disputes secretary of the Coatepeque workers’ union Sindicato de Trabajadores de Coatepeque and a member of the CUSG Advisory Council, and Wilder Hugo López, general secretary of the local urban transport union Sindicato de Microbuseros Urbanos, were assassinated due to their involvement in the trade union movement. The ITUC and its affiliates have strongly condemned these two murders.

"We are in mourning once again. Two more of our trade union colleagues have again lost their lives in the effort to defend workers. The government must take the measures needed to bring an end to the killings of trade unionists," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

According to Guatemala’s trade union centres, these killings are part of the strategy to undermine and wipe out the trade union movement. "President Otto Pérez Molina promised security for all during his election campaign, but we have seen no change in the plight of the workers, the trade union movement or trade unionists since he came to power, and nothing has been done to tackle impunity," underlined a spokesperson for the Popular and Independent Trade Union Movement of Guatemala.

In a letter to the Guatemalan authorities, the ITUC urged President Pérez Molina to honour his constitutional obligation in a responsible manner and to fully guarantee respect for the lives, rights and safety of Guatemala’s people. It also called on the Public Prosecutor’s Office to immediately launch a full investigation into the murders of the two trade union leaders.

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

Photo: Tonx