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Recognised by many as leading in the labour field, Bufelco Bufete López Cordero exclusively acts on the side of employers, handling both individual and collective labour law matters and both contentious and non-contentious issues. ‘Renowned’ founding partner Guillermo López Cordero is considered ‘without a doubt, the star’ among Guatemalan labour lawyers. The three-partner strong team advises local, foreign and transnational companies in the industrial, commercial and financial services sectors and recently assisted Embotelladora Central with the implementation of a fundamental change in the sales system and the negotiation of a new collective agreement on working conditions with the union. It also advised PwC Guatemala on the dismissal of a high-ranking staff member; and successfully defended sugar mill Ingenio Palo Gordo in nullity proceedings against the union’s general secretary for denial of work on days-off during the harvest period, resulting in sanctions and disciplinary measures. The team also handles migration matters for expatriate workers in Guatemala. Other key clients include Banco Industrial, Cementos Progreso, Unilever and Exxon Mobil.

Formerly Arias & Muñoz before the spin-off of Muñoz Global in Costa Rica, Arias provides comprehensive labour advice primarily to transnational companies with subsidiaries in Guatemala, including on social security and occupational health and safety regulations, and in disputes, the negotiation of out-of-court arrangements, administrative conflict mediation and labour litigation. The team also has complimentary expertise in immigration law, regulatory law and compliance. Current work includes assisting a foreign embassy with the termination of a local employee due to fraudulent acts, and defending a prominent multinational company against an employee who claimed a higher severance payment with bad faith due to the misinterpretation of an incentive bonus for productivity; after favourable rulings at the Supreme Court the case is currently at the Constitutional Court. With more than 30 years’ experience, Liz Gordillo gives ‘highly appropriate advice’. Senior associate Rosa María Arenales is also noted. Clients include Google, IDB, Walmart, Chevron and Bayer.

In the labour area, QIL+4 Abogados, S.A. advises broadly on conflict prevention, compliance assessments and labour audits, crisis management, negotiations and litigation. The team has expertise in the design of yearly compliance programmes; assisting with compensation, employee benefits and stock ownership plans; undertaking the liquidation of retirement and pension plans; and handling immigration and social security issues, and collective bargaining agreements. The practice group has recently handled various disputes concerning the dismissal of employees, damage claims due to an allegedly professional illness, and the execution of post-spin-off employment substitution agreements. The ‘very goodEvelyn Rebuli has 25 years’ experience exclusively in labour matters and is considered ‘an inspiration’ by peers. Clients include prominent companies such as Abbott Laboratories, British American Tobacco, Henkel, Enel Green Power and Walmart.

BLP predominantly handles work permit matters for international clients and labour disputes related to the termination of employees and/or labour benefit claims. Notable clients include Samsung Electronics Latinoamerica, SGS Central América and Bimbo de Centroamerica, for which the team acts on matters including residence requests, the review of labour contracts and contentious labour cases. Another client is Quala Guatemala, which the team is representing before the Labour Ministry regarding the modification of its internal working regulations. Luis Ruiz is the main contact; he is supported by associate Jeimy Aldi.

Consortium Legal is widely recognised for its strong labour practice with particular expertise in advising international and multinational companies on collective bargaining issues, and in particular, assisting with the negotiation of collective agreements on working conditions in the electricity, sugar, banana and industrial sectors. The ‘highly renownedLionel Aguilar is the key figure; he is currently managing the relationship between a well-known subsidiary in the food industry and a new union, including the negotiation of a collective agreement. Another current client is a multinational company in the steel industry.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.’s ‘very good’ labour practice has a ‘multidisciplinary approach and wide experience with international clients’. Advice ranges from employment contracts, working regulations and collective agreements, to the defence of clients in labour proceedings. The firm also has expertise in migration, including visa and work permit issues. The team’s recent caseload included drafting an internal labour policy for Banco Compartamos, the preparation and filing of multiple temporary residency applications and work permits for Spanish-national executives working on a project in Guatemala for longstanding client OHL, and regular ongoing advise to Payless Shoe Source on labour disputes, the review of labour regulations and the termination of employees. Other standing clients for day-to-day labour matters include IBM Alliance-company GBM, Pasmo Guatemala and Grupo Monsan. Clients are ‘very satisfied’ with the ‘excellent’ work of practice head Rafael Briz. Support comes from the highly knowledgeable senior associate Suzel Obiols.

Pacheco Coto provides general and day-to-day labour law advice to a portfolio of international and multinational companies, handling employee benefit matters, the drafting of labour contracts and settlements, internal work codes, employee compensation agreements, immigration work permits and labour litigation. It also regularly assists clients with the negotiation of collective agreements on working conditions with trade unions. Ruby Asturias is the main contact and is supported by two associates, who dedicate their time to labour and corporate matters. Prominent clients include Bayer, Office Depot, Chep and Thyssenkrup. In October 2017 the firm announced its integration with EY Law Central America as of January 2018, which should not only broaden its offering in Central America but also on a global scale.

Labour boutique Valenzuela Herrera & Asociados is directed by the widely-recognised labour law expert Augusto Valenzuela and advises on individual and collective employment issues; it has particular expertise in labour audits, social security matters, immigration and work permits, and contentious labour matters. The firm is also part of the specialised “Tax & Labor” alliance, covering Central America (and the Dominican Republic.

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