UFCW Canada meets Guatemalan officials to raise awareness of migrant workers' rights

Strategic meetings focus on better training and regulatory protection for migrant workers

UFCW Canada meets Guatemalan officials to raise awareness of migrant workers' rightsGuatemala City, Guatemala – April 4, 2014 – UFCW Canada and allies recently met with Guatemalan authorities to discuss the shortfalls of temporary foreign worker programs, and the impact of the programs on the human and labour rights of Guatemalan migrant workers. Officials from the Ministry of Labour, Foreign Affairs, and the Guatemalan Migrants Commission – CONAMIGUA – as well as representatives of UFCW Canada and Global Workers Alliance, discussed working together within an institutional framework to promote migrant workers' fundamental rights.

Guatemalan workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program first arrived to Canada in July 2003. Since then, the number of workers annually has grown, as have the problems related to faulty Canadian regulation and the intrinsic vulnerabilities of temporary workers in a foreign country. While jobs for migrant workers in Canada do offer vital income, the actual legal framework treats migrants as a vulnerable, precarious, disposable workforce. By providing good information, training and protection to the workers before their departure, some of the worst of these consequences can be avoided. 

As a concrete result of the recent meetings, UFCW Canada and Global Workers Alliance will be working closely with Guatemalan authorities to promote a basic rights campaign among migrant workers, and a cooperative information sharing structure to help prevent fraudulent recruitment schemes and exploitation.