State Virus Spreads Through Central America

In Guatemala people are now suffering from the "labor agreements", which come from the same strain of virus as the "Collective agreements" which have made the State Costa Rica sick, distorting the labor market and generating inequality.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


The editorial "Harmfulness of labor agreements in the public sector", published today on, might have been written some years ago to describe Costa Rica. Guatemala still appears to have a chance to react to the disease, with proper medication. In Costa Rica, however, the disease is so widespread that major surgery is needed which today does not seem feasible, and the only thing left is to wait for the inevitable final crisis.

Abuse of power by state unions, protected by the permissiveness of governments and managers of public entities, leads to the institutionalization of wage policies that do not respond to the reality of rational budgets nor to competitiveness in the performance of tasks, creating a caste of privileged people by the mere fact of them being on the payroll of one public institution or another.

And the abandonment of concepts of social justice and respect for constitutional rights occurs even in those whose mission it is to preserve and to enforce them. The Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica guarantees that unlike other public and private workers, Judiciary officials receive 100% of their salaries when they are sick. This is despite what is mandated in article 57 of the Constitution itself: "Wages must always be equal for equal work under identical conditions of efficiency."

The Guatemalan columnist notes on the subject that "...Since public administration is governed by the principle that only what the Constitution and the law expressly provides for is permitted, meaning what is not allowed is forbidden, this puts in doubt that ability of officials to negotiate and agree on working conditions that contravene the Constitution and the law, or which exceed the limits of what is permitted. "

Hopefully in Guatemala there will be a reaction to these "labor agreements" before-as happened in Costa Rica- they become "acquired rights" that perpetuate unacceptable privileges.

See editorial "Harmfulness of labor agreements in the public sector" (only in Spanish)

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