Guatemala has become the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists, according to the new ITUC Report on Violations of Trade Union Rights. Since 2007, at least 53 union leaders and representatives have been killed, and there have been numerous acts of attempted murder, torture, kidnapping, break-ins and death threats, which have created a culture of fear and violence where the exercise of trade union rights becomes impossible.
Activists in the banana sector have been disproportionately targeted however international solidarity with British trade unions is supporting organising and training, offering hope for progress. TUC AID and UNITE have generously agreed to support a training and organising project for the banana workers union, SITRABI, in Guatemala to strengthen collective bargaining in the North and train activists to build the union in the South. Two new training modules have already been designed for shop stewards and new leaders and the first training session was held in June. Representatives of all 12 banana worker unions in Izabál have held their first ever inter-union meeting to discuss industry wide strategy. SITRABI have also met with the Labour Minister for the first time and presented their proposal for a tripartite dialogue process in Izabál and the Pacific South. The Labour Minister has offered weekly meetings with the union to prepare the ground for this challenging work.
Read the first project report from SITRABI.
Read the latest letter from the TUC to the Guatemalan authorities expressing serious concern about the continued lack of justice for murdered trade unionists.