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UTQ - UNIÓN DE TRABAJADORES DE QUETZALTENANGO

Activities Of UTQ
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In an effort to both achieve its initial objectives and to address any emerging problems, UTQ has been involved in the following activities:

 

Empowerment

Through the Ernesto Che Guevara School of Coordination and Planning, formed in 1992, UTQ has implemented regular workshops, seminars and conferences to develop leadership and participation among union members. The School of Coordination and Planning is also used as a forum for community meetings, opening its doors to various citizen groups who seek a space to discuss a variety of political, economic, social, cultural themes.

 

Mobilization

In the years following the peace accords, UTQ has been involved in the continuing struggle to bring about a more democratic Guatemala. Towards this goal, UTQ has employed a strategy of popular protest.

 

UTQ played a critical role in the general strikes against the privatization of hospital, education, and mail services in 1994.In 2001, UTQ led pickets and demonstrations in protest of the 12% increase in the aggregate value tax, a fiscal policy that unfairly burdened working families. Currently, UTQ has staged protests to establish a town meeting with the mayor of Quetzaltenango and other Municipal Officers to ensure transparency and fiscal responsibility in the departmental government.

 

In addition, UTQ organizes annual marches to commemorate International Woman’s Day (March 8th), International Labor Day (May 1st), Universal Human Rights Day (September 10th), and the Revolution of 1944 (October 20th).

 

UTQ participates in unscheduled manifestations and demonstrations in response to the needs of its membership.

 

Legal Affairs

UTQ’s Asesoria Juridica office fights to protect the legal rights of Guatemalan workers, The Asesoria Juridica staff of two layers provides free legal services to UTQ members, representing their interests in court over disputes with employers, unjustified layoffs, collection of back-pay.

 

The Asesoria Juridica office also participates in the organization of new unions. The Juridica draws up the legal framework to register new unions in full accordance with International Code of Labor, of the International Organization of Labor, and the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor as mandated by the Guatemalan Constitution.

Information

 

Voces de UTQ, a monthly newspaper, informs UTQ’s affiliates and the community at large of relevant issues and happenings in the labor community. By providing updates from the various coordinating posts, Voces de UTQ keeps members updated as to the activities and concerns of their unions.

 

UTQ houses the Carlos Borromeo Sacalxot Center of Documentation and Archive, a facility that provides historical and political information to workers, students, and the community at large.

 

Health-Womens Services

Through La Oficina de Mujer, UTQ administers an Infant Care program that provides shelter for children of single mother households who lack sufficient economic resources. As well UTQ sponsors a medical clinic and pharmacy for citizens of Quetzaltenango who can not afford medical coverage.

 

Finca la Alianza

In 1996 UTQ helped to establish 'Finca la Alianza', one of the sustainable development projects made possible with the assistence of the government body 'Fondos para la Tierra'. 'Fondos para la Tierra' provide the financing to enable communities of campesinos to buy back land that was previously under the control of a single landowner.

 

'Finca la Alianza' is a cooperative macadamia farm located about 3 hours west of Xela.  On December 18th 2004, UTQ was invited to attend a public meeting at the farm to celbrate the handover of the land titles to each of the families involved.

 

UTQ Today

Unfortunately, much of the international support that existed prior to and for some years after the signing of the Peace Accords in 1996, has since been removed. This has meant that many of the aforementioned activities are no longer possible and have been put on hold pending the acquisition of further funding.

 

If you want to help us, click here to find out more.

 

 

Contact us at UTQxela@yahoo.es