Thank you, Chairperson.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia[*], Montenegro[*] and Albania[*] as well as well as the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area align themselves with this statement.
We attach great importance to human rights, including freedom of association of workers and employers and we recognise the crucial role played by the ILO in developing, promoting and supervising international labour standards.
We wish to recall the commitment undertaken by Guatemala under the trade and sustainable development chapter of the EU Central America Association Agreement, to effectively implement in law and practice the fundamental ILO Conventions.
We read with great interest the report sent by the Government and the observations made by two trade union federations. Notwithstanding the closing of the complaint by the 334th GB a year ago, the EU and its Member States continue to very closely follow the progress on issues related to the implementation of the ILO Convention 87 and continue to be closely engaged with Guatemala on labour issues.
We recognise that some progress has been made as explained in the report sent by the Government. Yet we regret to note that based on the trade union federations’ observations the Roadmap remains largely unimplemented and that numerous cases of anti-union discrimination and violence continue to exist.
Tripartite consultations and meaningful and effective social dialogue are essential elements of application of fundamental principles and rights at work.
We welcome the continuation of social dialogue in Guatemala resumed in May after five months of inactivity through the operation of the National Tripartite Committee on Labour Relations and Freedom of Association. We believe that this institution is crucial for creation of climate of trust and cooperation between the social partners that should be maintained and strengthened. We therefore strongly hope that this committee will be given full legal recognition through legislation proposed in September for adoption by Congress. We urge the new Government and the Congress to proceed with the adoption without delay.
A key commitment made by Guatemala when the tripartite agreement was signed on 28 August 2018 was to advance the pending legislative reforms that were needed to bring domestic legislation into line with the fundamental ILO Convention 87, including with regard to the establishment of sectorial unions, and their participation in collective bargaining in line with the fundamental ILO Convention 98. Unfortunately, the legislation has not been finalised yet and we see little progress towards its adoption.
We also see limited progress on the overall implementation of the Roadmap. We urge the Public Prosecutor’s office as well as the Ministry of Interior to follow the recommendations of the National Tripartite Committee, in particular in relation to the operations of the Public Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigation Unit for Crimes against Trade Unionists. Protection of trade union leaders and activists needs to be ensured. It is also essential to continue the investigations into the cases of deaths of trade union leaders and trade unionists in order to provide prompt and full accountability and justice.
We expect that the technical assistance programme on all three immediate objectives proposed by the ILO and approved by the National Tripartite Committee in August is implemented without delay.
We urge again the Government to adopt without delay the legislative reforms that were submitted by tripartite consensus to the National Congress and fully implement the Roadmap, and as a matter of urgency begin the programme of technical cooperation, in order to address all pending issues of this Roadmap.
Chair, in light of the considerations and concerns raised above we can support the original decision point. However, we note that we have not yet seen the progress that was promised when the complaint was closed in November last year.
Thank you, Chair.
[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.