Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala Among the Worst Countries to Work

According to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), in 2022, the Condition for Workers on the American Continent Worsened due to Several Violations of Labor Rights.

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LatinAmerican Post | Julieta Gutiérrez

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Leer en español: Brasil, Colombia y Guatemala entre los peores países para trabajar

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is the world's largest corporate umbrella whose role is to promote and protect the interests and rights of working women and men. Its main activities are to create global campaigns that fight against discrimination, that defend human and corporate rights and that promote a decent economy, society and workplace.

Every year, the ITUC ranks 148 countries on a scale of 1 to 5+ based on their compliance with labor rights in a report called the Global Rights Index 2022. In it, 1 is the best score and 5+ is the worst. In addition, the confederation documents violations of internationally recognized rights established by the governments and employers of each nation. It is for this reason that, within their studies this year, 3 Latin American countries were identified as the worst places in the world for working people. However, the region of the planet that was ranked as the worst area for working people is the Middle East and North Africa.

According to reports from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Latin America is still "the most unequal region on the planet." Since Afro-descendants or indigenous people in the region are more likely to be poor and do not have access to a formal job. This makes the subcontinent the area of the world with the highest income inequality, according to a report presented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

It is for this reason that the ITUC ranked Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala as the 3 Latin countries among the worst places in the world to work.


In Colombia, the repression and physical violence against workers was worsened, due to the incompetence of the Colombian government to provide efficient protection to trade unionists threatened with death. In addition, the CIS reports that the labor justice system in Colombia has always been broken due to the fact that it has failed to process the many historical cases of homicides and other violent acts.

Also, the Andean country is within 52% of the nations in which workers were arrested under arbitrary conditions. According to the report presented by the International Trade Union Confederation, on May 27, 2021, a police operation was carried out in several municipalities in the department of Arauca, Colombia, where different union leaders of the Association of Peasants of Arauca (ACA), were detained for no reason.


In Guatemala, the reality for workers in terms of human rights is not encouraging at all. Well, according to the report presented by the ITUC, on June 16, 2021, two members of the Fritolay Guatemala company were beaten by unknown individuals and one of them had to be treated in a hospital. This places Guatemala within the Latin countries in which workers have suffered violent attacks.

In addition, impunity in the face of murders of workers is still very present. One of the most atrocious events was the murder of the primary school teacher and leader of the Guatemalan Education Workers Union (STEG), which occurred on May 7, 2021. In this case, the Prosecutor's Office has not yet provided any type of information about the perpetrators of the crime.


According to the 2022 Global Rights Index presented by the ITUC, Brazil is among 92% of the countries in which the right to protest has been censored and violated. On October 8, 2021, the employees of the General Motors Chevrolet plant in Sao Caetano do Sul went on strike due to the failure of negotiations with the company regarding salary adjustments. Although a conciliation hearing was held in the Regional Labor Court, no agreement was ever reached between the parties and the workers had to return to work without obtaining any type of solution to their demands.

In addition, according to the ITUC report, Brazil is one of the Latin American countries where the right to collective bargaining has been disrespected the most. One of the biggest examples is the Santander Brazil bank, which made a 55% salary cut to 40 of its workers, contributing most of the profits to the Spanish multinational Santander and reducing the salary of more than half of its employees. .

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However, not all Latin American countries present these human and labor rights violations towards male and female workers. Countries like Costa Rica, Panama and Uruguay are the territories that top the list of best jobs in Latin America, according to a study carried out by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The report presented by the IDB, which measures the quality and quantity of jobs, assured that Uruguay has a relatively high level of labor productivity, since it has efficient policies that manage to formalize the majority of the population.

In the case of Panama, foreign investment has been encouraged thanks to its economic development, personal and legal security. Turning the country into an exemplary destination to work.

On the other hand, according to a study presented by the Legatum Institute, Costa Rica is the third best country in Latin America to live in, because the nation stands out in aspects such as personal freedom, which allows citizens to decide autonomously on the essential facts of its life, such as the choice of work. According to the report, in Costa Rica you don't necessarily have to go to San José to find job opportunities.