ILO report in Latin America calls for progress in policies to guarantee labor rights
1 septiembre 2022

Labor rights. On September 1, the International Labor Organization (ILO) presented a technical note on the mid-term labor outlook 2022 in Latin America and the Caribbean. The document gathers information from countries such as Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Argentina, among others, in relation to the economic and social impact of variables such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict and a high level of regional inflation, on the labor situation in the region. Thus, the ILO calls on Latin American governments to move forward with policies to sustain and create formal jobs, as well as to strengthen labor institutions (with emphasis on minimum wage and collective bargaining regulations) and labor rights. 

In the report, Claudia Coenjaerts, ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, warned that “greater informality and an increase in the number of working poor are emerging as major challenges for the labor markets of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022”. Thus, the official pointed out that the loss of real income in employees derived from international variables requires local regulatory progress in the granting of income guarantees to the population in vulnerable situations, together with active labor market policies. It also highlights that the tripartite dialogue instances (between the Government, unions and businessmen) acquire “a key role” in order to fully meet the needs of workers and employers.

In this regard, it is important to mention that in Venezuela, since April, the ILO together with the government of Nicolás Maduro have been carrying out the Social Dialogue Forum, which involves the establishment of permanent dialogue tables between the government, employers and unions of the country with the aim of advancing in labor reforms that include the creation of a Labor Emergency Law, with provisions on wages, employment and social security, as well as the ratification of Convention 190 on the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work, among others. Likewise, in Colombia, the international organization expressed its support for the proposal announced by the government of Gustavo Petro to promote a labor reform in 2023 that could contain measures related to working hours, forms of contracting and labor dispute resolution.

Next steps

The ILO presented a report on the regional labor scenario, which is affected by economic crises caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine. Faced with this scenario, the ILO recommends Latin American countries to focus on promoting the creation of more formal jobs, as well as to advance in policies that regulate the minimum wage and promote the existence of spaces for tripartite dialogue. Likewise, the entity shows its commitment to collaborate with the government of Venezuela to continue promoting local labor regulations and the fulfillment of commitments made to long-term organizations, as well as with the government of Colombia to present a comprehensive labor reform in the first quarter of 2023.

Engagement opportunity

In the specific cases mentioned in which the ILO has made interventions, it is worth noting that in Venezuela, representatives of both the public and private sectors participate in the tripartite dialogue spaces, so McDonald’s has the possibility of influencing these instances. In turn, in the case of Colombia, the company will be able to make interventions as soon as the bill is formally presented to Congress by President Gustavo Petro, who announced that he will send the final text in the first quarter of 2023. There, the committee dealing with the bill will be able to open up opportunities for the public and private sector to give their opinions.