On 21 March, the Government of Guatemala opened a temporary hospital in the “Parque de la Industria” in Guatemala City to receive and treat patients with COVID-19.
On 5 June, a group of 46 workers were fired with no payments. On 9 June, we called on the authorities to urgently pay staff for the time worked and carry out an independent investigation into their dismissals which allows for remedies if the dismissals are found to be unfair.
The Guatemalan Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office filed a complaint about this case with the Ministry of Health. The previous Minister, Mr. Monroy, answered that he was going to re-hire most of these workers. However to date, only 5 workers have been re-hired on formal contracts, and 19 have been re-hired with informal work conditions at the hospital. At the moment, the group of 46 workers have been all paid and there is a new Minister of Health. The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office is working to revise the labour conditions of all the workers at the Temporary Hospital, including both maintenance and medical staff which total at over 500 workers.
This hospital had an initial capacity of 319 beds. At the beginning of May, medical staff publicly denounced the lack of contracts, salaries and safe working conditions at the hospital. According to information reported in the press based from the Public Accounting Office, the Industrial Park Temporary Hospital of Guatemala City has executed less than 2% of the public budget that was assigned to it by the Congress, due to a lack of operative capacity and personnel to be able to carry out the functions of the hospital.
We will continue monitoring and reacting to developments on this issue.