Badly paid work will not save Guatemalans from poverty

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While British unions campaigned for decent wages during Fair Pay Fortnight, Guatemala faced a threat to one of the few protections it has for workers – the minimum wage.
 
However, while the government pursues a race to the bottom, Guatemala’s unions are working hard to improve workers’ pay.
 
In one of the most violent societies in the world, the right to work at a lower minimum wage than the rest of the country is generating violence at local level, as protests mount on both sides of a key national debate over regional and sectoral minimum wages.
 
Despite the Guatemalan trade union movement’s opposition to the proposal for differentiated minimum wages, imposed by Presidential Decree in March 2014, local mayors and – perversely – people from the four districts affected have mobilised to defend the right to a badly paid job.
 
In a recent demonstration in the capital city, police and protesters clashed when a group broke into the offices of the Human Rights Ombudsman to make their point about jobs.
 
That point rests on the erroneous assumption that badly paid work can save people from poverty...
 
For the full article written by Alistair Smith, Banana Link's International Coordinator, click here
 
For more information on how Banana Link is organising training support for Guatemalan Banana Workers please also see the following TUC article.