Trade Union Rights Not Respected in Belize

The ITUC is releasing today a report on core labour standards in Belize, coinciding with the Trade Policy Review of the country at the WTO. The report finds that internationally recognised labour standards are violated especially with regard to child labour and trade union rights.

The ITUC report finds that in Belize the rights to organise, collectively bargain and strike are recognised, but in practice, exercising these rights is limited, and there are significant limitations to trade union organising. The situation is worst in the country’s export processing zones (EPZs), where the employers refuse to recognise unions while the government fails to ensure the law is respected. As a result, there are no trade unions in the EPZs.

The report shows that women face discrimination in employment and in remuneration. Other groups that face discrimination in access to employment are persons who live with HIV/AIDS, homosexuals and members of the Mayas ethnic group.

Child prostitution is a problem, and many children work in informal activities, mainly in agriculture, but also in urban areas as street vendors. The ITUC report discovers that although traffickers of adults and children are prosecuted, the courts usually dismiss trafficking cases.

To read the full report