WFTU, military regimes, International Labor Organization, WCL, Unemployment
Guatemala’s labor force was estimated at 4.2 million workers in 2000. Agriculture occupied 26 percent of those workers; 22 percent were employed in manufacturing, construction, and mining; and 53 percent in services. Unemployment was slightly more than 4 percent, but an estimated 31.5 percent were underemployed. A minimum-wage law (requiring wages of from $2.50 to $5 per day) went into effect in 1992, which helped keep wages ahead of inflation through 1994.
Labor organization has been important in Guatemala since the 1920s, but has often suffered repression from government and private paramilitary groups. Labor organizers have been labeled “Communists,” and many were killed, tortured, or exiled under military regimes that governed from 1931 to 1944 and from 1954 to 1985. Only about 9 percent of Guatemalan workers are organized, although both industrial and agricultural unions exist. Guatemala is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO), International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), World Confederation of Labor (WCL), and World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).
Article key phrases: