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Guatemala – Outreach through trade unions including attention to COVID-19

Primary GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2020 - Present

Type of practice


Latest content



Sub Regions:


The Guatemalan Autonomous Popular Union Movement and the Global Unions of Guatemala developed, validated and implemented a strategy on labour migration and fair recruitment. It included the development of a guide aimed at supporting unions in defending and promoting labour rights, as well as the obligations that are contracted in an employment relationship, including with regards to recruitment. The guide was developed from the perspective of the ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines for the Fair Recruitment (GPOG) covering all workers, including migrant workers. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, an Annex was added on prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 at the workplace. A socialization, dissemination and training process was carried out presenting the guide to a total of 200 union representatives, and analyzing and reflecting on its content, documenting relevant points, shared experiences and recommendations for future actions, thus strengthening the advocacy by trade union organizations on recruitment matters in Guatemala.


Main Implementing Organization(s)

International Labour Organization (ILO)

Partner/Donor Organizations

Movimiento Sindical y Popular Autónomo Guatemalteco
Sindicatos Globales de Guatemala - trade unions

Benefit and Impact

Trade union organizations in Guatemala reaffirmed their commitment to promote and defend the labour rights of not only national workers but also migrant workers. This included the signing of the bi-national Trade Union Agreement for the Defence of Decent Work and Equitable Hiring for Migrant Workers of the Mexico-Guatemala Corridor.
The guide that follows from this commitment was prepared in a simple language for ease of communication by union organizations and workers themselves, and is being used to reach out to migrant workers.

The Guide on decent work and fair recruitment and its annex on Covid-19 address topics of interest to trade union organizations and workers. It also includes a specific section related to fair recruitment aimed at migrant workers, thus seeking to make said topic part of the trade union agenda in Guatemala

Key Lessons

The biggest challenge was to incorporate labour migration into the agenda of the trade unions, for this reason a strategy was jointly built (trade unions and ILO) to promote social dialogue on labour migration and fair recruitment at national and regional level, defining the role of workers' organizations in the issue of migration, decent work and fair recruitment based on human rights, the sustainable development agenda, promoting gender equity and a territorial approach.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

Both the methodology used and the content of the guide could be adapted and replicated in other countries, particularly where the Inter-Union Committee for the Labour Rights of Migrants exists (i.e. Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panamá).


Trade unions in Guatemala with the technical assistance of the ILO developed a Guide to Rights and Obligations with a focus on labour migration, decent work and fair recruitment. Due to the pandemic, a COVID-19 Annex prevention and mitigation in the workplace was elaborated, which constitutes a tool that facilitates the defense and promotion of labor rights, making a series of recommendations aimed at national and migrant workers related to a safe and healthy work environment. The Guide and its annex were widely disseminated and socialized with workers as well as with governmental organizations, employers' organizations, the judiciary, the executive branch, civil society organizations, academia, and the student sector, among others.

Additional Resources

Date submitted:

03 February 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).