Labour and employment in Bolivia
Specialist boutique Carrasco Firma de Abogados has a 40-year trajectory in the sector. Reincorporated in 2014 to broaden the partnership and service offering, it nevertheless remains best known for its broad labour and employment capability, which is characterised by a strong preventative bent. Second generation managing partner, Pablo Carrasco Quintana has over 20 years' experience in the sector; responsible for the Commission for Labour Matters of Bolivia's National Chamber for Industry (CNI), among other positions, his recent mandates include advising Minera San Cristóbal in the most significant collective labour dispute of recent years. The firm's designated figure for labour matters across La Paz and Cochabamba, senior associate Boris Bustillos has 15 years' experience in contentious labour matters and also handles the prevention of labour risks as part of a broader advisory offering. With over a decade in practice, senior associate Jaime Torrico’s advisory and litigious labour offering is underpinned by specialisation in administrative, civil and penal jurisprudence; he also has a constitutional law aspect to his practice. Formerly at the Ministry of Work, Employment, and Social Security (MTEPS), labour-focused associate Rubén Zabaleta, in Santa Cruz, is also noted. Partners Arturo Mercado and Ricardo Alemán both focus on corporate and administrative matters - from La Paz and Santa Cruz, respectively.
‘Carrasco Firma de Abogados’ level of knowledge and advice on labour matters is excellent’.
‘They are efficient, available and offer timely advice’.
‘Efficiency and professionalism’.
Banco de Crédito
Telecel de Bolivia
South American Express
Minera San Cristóbal
Primitivo Gutiérrez, who is highly regarded for his expertise in labour litigation, co-leads Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C’s six-strong team across labour practice in conjunction with Jaime Lora, also a labour disputes and negotiation specialist, who has niche expertise in immigration-related contentious issues. Restructuring mandates and renumeration matters have been especially prominent in the team's workload of late. The team is also adept at handling collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), hiring and dismissals and contractual employment matters for a solid client base of international entities. Associate Luis Gutiérrez focuses on labour disputes, due diligence, complex negotiations and compliance. In addition to contentious mandates the team's recent work includes advice on the preventive aspects of labour regulatory compliance, and labour policy review. Since publication the firm has announced a tie-up with Dentons, effective as of mid-March 2021.
Asea Brown Boveri
Laboratorios Bagó de Bolivia
- Defending Laboratorios Bagó de Bolivia in several labour disputes.
- Defending Asea Brown Boveri in a dispute with a former employee concerning payment of social benefits.
Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados’ 12-strong the team advises a prominent client base on a broad spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including outsourcing agreements, social security, immigration, employment contracts, and hiring and dismissals. René Claure and labour specialist counsel Natalio Zegarra continue to advise the US Embassy on social security plans; head of the firm's contentious practice, Delfor Zapata is highly regarded for his expertise in labour litigation. Claure and Zapata jointly lead the team with fully-fledged labour specialist Paul Aramayo, who is both national practice co-head, and head of labour at the firm's Santa Cruz office; and has demonstrable expertise in handling union conflicts. Senior associate Fernando Sanchez Peña Von Nagy is also a key figure, particularly for preventative advisory and conciliation matters.
‘Because of our issues, we also have a lot of contact with labour lawyer Paul [Aramayo], who provides us with an agile and well-supported service.’
The US Embassy
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Cummins do Brazil
- Assisted food production company Industrias Venado with the outsourcing of 160 employees to its spin-off entity Facrulesa.
- Assisting food delivery company PedidosYA with employment contracts and social security matters.
- Defended ZTE Corporation against a claim filed by the Bolivian Pension Funds Authority, regarding alleged non-payments of mandatory social security contributions.
The 'excellent’ PPO Abogados houses a 'substantial’, 17-strong team which is 'very well prepared and knowledgeable about labour matters’. The group provides 'strategic advice’ to clients from a broad range of sectors on all aspects of labour and employment matters, including large-scale dismissals, collective bargaining, restructurings, social security work, personnel hiring structures, employment agreements, labour conflict prevention and immigration. Practice head Alejandro Pemintel handles the full range of advisory matters, collective bargaining and administrative and judicial labour litigation and arbitration; he has particular experience in union conflicts. Senior associates Rodrigo Montellano (labour conflict prevention, collective bargaining and labour arbitration), Meliza Aliaga (prevention and containment of labour conflicts; labour advisory) and Luz Marina Iriarte (labour advisory; individual and collective bargaining) are additional key contacts in the solid and sizeable team.
‘The substantial team is very well prepared and knowledgeable about labour matters’.
‘The advice provided in labour matters is highly recommended, the predisposition of the team to clarify any type of doubt and provide additional support to the client make their practice one of the best in Bolivia.’
‘The labour area team, led by Rodrigo Motellano, stands out for its predisposition and technical knowledge.’
‘It is a robust team of lawyers, this allows someone to always be available to assist clients. Although I have not worked with another law firm in Bolivia, I would say that they have their own seal on the quality of the service, despite being served by different lawyers.’
‘The plus they have is that they give us alternative solutions. In Bolivia, the laws in all sectors are very general, so specialists are the ones who should guide us so as not to make mistakes that could lead to fines payments in whatever the case. For example, regarding the Ministry of Labour, Raúl García has responded to each of our requirements not only by indicating articles, but by explaining possibilities that can be given in case we make decisions with alternatives a, b or c. There is also Luis Enrique Perez, who was physically in the negotiations for the dismissal of personnel who failed to comply with the company’s regulations, and we also came out successful with this issue. With the full support of the Alejandro Pemintel and Rodrigo Montellano’s team, as well as Justina Valenzuela, always very attentive as regards personnel contracts.’
‘In general, this firm has helped us efficiently, giving us legal support and managing the processes for maintaining and executing the remuneration sheet for our subsidiary in Bolivia.’
Nestlé / Fagal
Wildlife Conservation Society
Fundación Rosa Luxemburgo
Copasa Groupp (Bolivia)
Santa Fe Relocations Services
- Represented Nestlé in union negotiations.
- Ongoing advisory to Deloitte on immigration matters related to the hiring of employees and relocation of domestic personnel.
- Assisted Fundación Rosa Luxemburgo with the closure of its Bolivian operations, involving a large-scale dismissal.
Gumucio & Abogados
Founded in 2013, Santa Cruz-based Gumucio & Abogados’ core specialty is its labour and employment offering, built on the back of its abilities in civil and administrative law and litigation. Providing 'very helpful advice on labour matters’, the six-strong team 'offers very good support’ on matters ranging from union conflicts and dismissal cases (which have formed the core of the department's recent workload), to labour and service contracts, labour audits, duty manuals, internal labour regulations, bilateral labour agreements, and legal strategies to reduce costs and conflictivity. Managing partner - and client favourite - Daniel Gumucio handles the full range of labour, employment and social security matters and associated contentious work; he has particular expertise in union conflicts, salary restructurings, lay-offs, stock options and complex litigation. Key support comes from senior associate Ximena Gumucio who litigates across the labour, administrative, tax and penal areas. Associate Romina Vallejos is also noted; however former senior associate Jose Antonio Callau moved in house at BMW Bolivia.
‘The team is very well balanced in terms of human resources according to the areas of the law that have to be attended to, and this helps us clients to know that we are in the hands of experts in the specific area that is needed. Clearly, the team is at the top compared to other offices. This is reinforced by senior leadership.’
‘Daniel Gumucio is the head of the office and it shows in everything undertaken by his team, ensuring rapidity in dealing with issues and their follow-up. This has been transmitted to the entire team, ensuring it is productive, specifically for us customers who need speed and efficiency. Ernesto Ledezma who has worked closely with us on corporate issues has been very efficient in advising and following up on the issues that we had to resolve.’
‘Extensive knowledge of labour law in Bolivia; proactivity to ensure the client remains informed; and collaborative in the definition of management strategies in a complex environment. Also: ease of communication and immediate availability to attend. It differs from the competition due to the points indicated.’
‘Ease of access, and ease of communication. Dr Gumucio, the firm’s main partner, fosters these strengths throughout his team.’
‘They keep the company updated with all legal regulations. One gets immediate response from the team of lawyers. I have full confidence in the work they do and the knowledge and practice they have in labour and corporate law.’
‘Our company works directly with Romina Vallejos and Mariela Ramallo; high-level professionals, continuous support, effective communication with the company and very satisfactory results.’
‘Dr Daniel Gumucio; a team leader, always ready to meet the requirements of the company. Full confidence in his work and results.’
‘The high standards of quality in the service they provide are characteristic of the firm.’
‘We receive legal advice that helps us a lot with labour issues. They give us adequate solutions to different problems that constantly arise. Very good accompaniment in each of the requests for advice. Concern for the business and for success in each of the actions that are demanded of them. For us it has constituted the best legal team with which we have worked.’
‘High knowledge of the laws and their attorneys are constantly updated, so that they generate confidence in each of the legal advice they provide. Daniel Gumucio is the key figure.’
Colegio Don Bosco
Cámara Agropecuaria del Oriente (CAO)
Grupo Ribepar Industria y Comercio
- Represented telecoms group Red Uno de Bolivia in administrative litigation, successfully otaining the overturning of a Ministry of Labour resolution.
- Acted for Colegio Don Bosco in a dismissal case.
- Successfully advised G4S Bolivia on a critical labour issue risking large-scale legal contingencies.
- Represented Cerámica Gladymar in union conflicts, obtaining the dissolution of the Gladymar union.
Indacochea & Asociados’ five-strong practice group has been notably active in restructuring work, dismissal cases, regulatory work and social security matters, in part driven by the firm's flow of corporate and transactional mandates. The cornerstone of the practice, labour specialist Andere Indacochea who advises on all issues related to employment and social security legislation, as well as on collective bargaining, labour restructuring and preventive labour-related matters; she co-leads the department with corporate specialist and senior partner Mariana Pereira. Anwar Farah has niche expertise in immigration-related matters; and associate Jeannine Lozada, who advises on labour regulatory issues, is also noted.
‘We receive labour alerts immediately and constantly. The team has experience and is outstanding in its field.’
‘Andere Indacochea: consolidated knowledge, precise advice and good response time.’
Compañia Interamericana de Servicios
Louis Dreyfus Commodities Bolivia
Distribuidora de Diversión Ximte
- Assisted Louis Dreyfus Company Bolivia with terminating all of its employees’ contracts following the closure of its operations in Bolivia.
- Assisted Compañia Interamericana de Servicios with an employer substitution agreement following its merger with COINSE.
- Assisted Cenatel Bolivia with terminating employee and distribution contracts.
Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad Civil – (BAQSN)
Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad Civil – (BAQSN)’s four-partner team is led by Carolina Aguirre, for whom labour and social security matters constitute the primary focus of a broader commercial practice; and La Paz-based Mauricio Torrico, whose practice takes in the corporate and M&A, tax and customs, and labour and social security areas. A solid if unshowy workload is oriented to permanent (and extensive) general advisory on labour and social security matters with a particular focus on compliance and the avoidance of labour contingencies; other matters include, the drafting of labour agreements, termination processes, internal labour regulations, and advice on labour litigation (primarily in relation to the payment of social benefits). Further partner-level engagement comes from Milenka Saavedra (also in La Paz), who is noted for her solid expertise in labour work; and energy expert Gonzalo Prudencio, who is also active in the sector. Key associate support comes from senior Alexia Paravicini.
The British Embassy
Empresa Minera Paitití
Pilotes Terratest Bolivia
- Representing Empresa Minera Paitití in individual and union negotiations.
- Assisting a research institute with the termination of labour agreements.
- Advising Tetra Pak on social security matters.
C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados
Labour disputes form the backbone of C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados’ primarily Santa Cruz-based practice, whose recent work includes defending Parker Drilling Company in ongoing litigation brought by a former employee regarding social security payments. With a Master's degree in labour and social security law, as well as previous public sector experience in Santa Cruz's labour courts, young partner Roberto López is the key labour specialist at the firm; a civil law specialist, his practice also takes in litigation. He co-leads the department with Antonio Sanjinés and La Paz-based Sandra Salinas, whose broader practices take in real estate and tax, and mining and environmental law, respectively. Of counsel Jorge Subirana, at the firm since 1998, is an additional point of reference for labour matters; he continues to lead on a reduced number of matters.
Parker Drilling Company
Centro Escolar Aleman
Mi Fluids Bolivia
Halliburton Latin America
Santillana de Ediciones
Empresa Minera Paititi
- Advising Halliburton Latin America in a social executive case brought bt the National Service of Distribution Services (SENASIR) for the payment of contributions to the complementary Social Health Oil Fund (CPSS) and Fondo Básico de Pensiones.
- Advice to Colgate-Palmolive Bolivia on a range of matters including the interpretation of regulations, work-contract compliance, filings before the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare, and issues relating to the Petroleum Health Fund (CPS).
Würth Bedoya Costa Du Rels Abogados’ department counts labour restructuring as a key strength amid a broader practice that handles social security, compensation schemes, work visas, and immigration matters, among others. Clients are drawn from the media, construction and retail sectors, among others. Karla Würth leads the practice; with Mauricio Costa du Rels and Jorge Serrate also bringing their partner-level experience to the practice. Key associate, Carla Saracho, whose 'knowledge in the field of employment law is impressive’, is experienced in labour, administrative and social conciliation processes; trade union negotiations, and the review and analysis of compliance with social-labour obligations, among other matters; she also has in-house experience managing all labour-related legal issues.
‘Carla Saracho’s knowledge in the field of employment law is impressive’.
Rockwell Automation Bolivia
- Advising construction company INVAP on hiring domestic and international employees for a construction project.
- Advises Soltrak on a range of labour matters, including restructuring and regulatory compliance.
Villegas Aldazosa SOC. CIV
In operation since October 2019, Villegas Aldazosa Soc. Civ was established by Gabriel Villegas following the dissolution of Tufiño y Villegas. The two-strong team, led by Villegas, focuses on labour due diligence, strategy design and the analysis of labour regulations. While not a core practice, it is nevertheless described as 'very organised, meticulous and detail-oriented’; recent work includes advising employer-side clients on dismissal procedures, restructuring and regulatory matters.
‘The team is very organised, meticulous and detail-oriented’.
‘Their advice is precise and assertive, firmly based in the law, and they analyse problems thoroughly’.
Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza
Granja Avicola Sofia
Granja Don Lucas
Eternit – Elementia (Duralit Bolivia)
Empresa de Transporte Internacional El Palomar
- Assisting poultry company Granja Avícola Integral Sofía with a range of labour disputes.
- Advising Belia Bolivia on the dismissal of the company’s CEO.
- Advised PRH Bolivia on an employees’ dismissal case.