The Social Security Institute intends to spend $130 million on building five hospitals in Jutiapa, Zacapa, Peten, Alta Verapaz and Escuintla, and two in Guatemala City.
The plan put forward by the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS) involves revamping existing hospital structures and building seven new units in different parts of the country as part of the Infrastructure Master Plan.
The Ministry of Labor has announced that as of January 1, 2015 a 5% increase in minimum wages in the productive sectors will come into force.
From a statement issued by the Government of Guatemala:
The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare (MTPS), Carlos Contreras, reported that the minimum wages for 2015, corresponding to agricultural, farm, maquila and non-agriculture sectors will increase by 5%, which is the third consecutive increase recorded during the administration of President Otto Perez Molina.
For the second consecutive year the increase was agreed between the private sector, trade unions and the Government.
A press release from the Government of Guatemala reads:
The Government of Guatemala has announced an adjustment to the minimum wage for 2014, representing an increase of 5%, as was announced by the Minister of Labor, Carlos Contreras. The increase will benefit 1.5 million Guatemalans formally working in the country.
The U.S. is withdrawing from suing the Guatemalan State for breach of labor rules before an international tribunal provided by the DR-CAFTA.
"In order to prevent the creation of an international panel that could lead to Guatemala paying a penalty of up to $15 million for violating labor laws, the Government has agreed with the United States to abide by a commitment to a plan to implement policies respecting these rules ", reported Prensalibre.com.
Guatemala and the U.S. have proposed to reach an amicable settlement and not to activate the NAFTA arbitration panel, over labor demands.
The agreement would save the country paying a $15 million financial penalty.
Economy Minister Sergio de la Torre said, "We have a formal offer from the USTR, as yet verbal, to enter into an amicable settlement before going to an arbitration panel", adding that on the part of the executive branch there is a willingness to comply with the necessary actions to enforce labor laws.
The Guatemalan Ministry of Labour is working on a bill draft and Labor Code reforms, in order to ensure social security and benefits are given to part-time employees.
The minister, Carlos Contreras, said his organization is working on a bill called the Employment Inclusion Act. It aims to ensure that part-time staff are recruited, but with the guarantee of Social Security payments and the support of the law.
Otto Perez, president elect of Guatemala, has appointed Sergio de la Torre as the future Minister of the Economy.
The president-elect said of the decision: "In the past 8 years Sergio de la Torre has been a member of the Monetary Board, he is a business manager and a businessman. He has always been involved in the country’s economic development."
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