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2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Paraguay

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 9 June 2010
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Paraguay, 9 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c4fec5f28.html [accessed 23 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 6,300,000
Capital: Asunción
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

Social dialogue has been strengthened under the government of President Lugo. Rights violations and anti-union practices remain commonplace, however, both in the private and public sectors, as seen at Frigorífico Neuland Ltda and in the civil aviation industry. The labour legislation does not promote trade union activities.

Trade union rights in law

Despite initial guarantees, a number of restrictions apply to trade union rights. The Constitution allows both private and public sector workers to form and join unions. However, the procedures for registering a union are cumbersome, and an inordinate 300 workers are needed to form an industrial union. Employers can also file a writ opposing the registration of a union. Furthermore, members of a union must belong to the respective occupation, and candidates for trade union office must work in the company and be active members of the union. Workers may not be members of more than one union either. Union activities are also restricted by the requirement that trade unions comply with all requests for consultations or reports from the labour authorities. While the law protects workers against anti-union discrimination, there are few genuinely dissuasive sanctions and the labour courts are not obliged to order the reinstatement of unfairly dismissed trade unionists.

Finally, the right to strike is guaranteed in law, but all strikes must be directly and exclusively linked to the workers' occupational interests.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2009

Background: President Fernando Lugo of the Patriotic Alliance for Change came to power at the end of 2008, ending the 61 year rule of the Colorado Party. During 2009, Lugo was faced with a country in need of urgent policies to combat poverty, to fight corruption within the public administration, to stimulate productivity and address the needs in the areas of health, education, housing and social security, as well as to ensure the application of trade union rights and freedoms.

The national workers' confederation, Confederación Nacional de Trabajadores (CNT), and other representatives of the Paraguayan trade union movement welcomed many of the measures adopted by the government and urged it to ensure compliance with human rights, labour laws and ILO Conventions.

Serious trade union rights violations at Cooperativa Frigorífico Neuland Ltda: On 18 March, the police of Villa Hayes, capital of the Presidente Hayes department, arrested six trade unionists for taking part in a strike at the meat production cooperative, Cooperativa Frigorífico Neuland Ltda. The workers were demanding that the company reinstate the 25 workers dismissed following the formation of a union on 14 February. They were also calling on the company to stop its persecution of other trade union members and leaders.

Union bashing at national civil aviation administration, DINAC: In October 2009, the national civil aviation administration, DINAC, launched a campaign of anti-union practices against the leaders and members of the DINAC employees and workers' union, Sindicato de Empleados y Obreros de la Dinac, SEODINAC. The management threatened to sack the trade unionists, ordered arbitrary transfers, and refused to pay the bonuses that form part of the salaries of over 1,380 workers spread across the country. It also promoted the formation of yellow unions, which would allow it to make mass dismissals and to privatise the industry. The trade union movement called on the heads of DINAC to respect the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining, trade union stability, and to fulfil the commitments made by the government of President Lugo.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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