Capital: Managua
Population: 6.01m. (2014 est.)

Nicaragua ratified ILO Conventions No. 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948) and No. 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949) in 1967.

Over recent years ITUC has reported a number of violations, including In 2016 that of a group of 12 trade unionists and union leaders who were sentenced to periods of one year house arrest and two years imprisonment following their arrests during a peaceful protest at a factory in the Tipitapa free trade zone. During 2018, students, the business leaders' association COSEP, and opposition forces, have led a series of protests in which violence from protestors and Sandinista groups loyal to the government, and by armed police, has raised serious concerns internationally for the condition of human rights in Nicaragua. Dozens or even hundreds of people are said to have been killed. A particular grievance for the anti-government protests was the government's planned pension reforms (though these had been endorsed by the country's largest union, the FNT). The reforms were later rolled back following violence at street protests in April.

The trade union movement within the country is historically divided ideologically, but all four trade union centres are today affiliated with the ITUC. Pro-Sandinista unions are organised into the Frente Nacional de los Trabajadores (FNT, English; National Workers’ Front), which is by far the largest trade union central with 345,000 members, founded in 1990, and the Central Sandinista de Trabajadores (CST, English: Sandinista Workers’ Centre), which organises 40,000 members and was founded immediately following the 1979 revolution. Associated with the opposition are the ITUC-affiliated Confederación de Unificación Sindical (CUS, English: Confederation of Labour Unification), representing 30,000 members, which formed as the Nicaraguan Trade Union Council (CSN) under the dictatorship in 1964, and the Central de Trabajadores Nicaraguenses (CTN, English: Nicaraguan Workers’ Centre), with a reported 25,000 members, which supports the Social Christian Party (PSC).

Full details of the country's political history, the development of trade unionism, and contact and affiliation details for all national trade union centres can be found in ICTUR's in-depth global reference book: Trade Unions of the World.

Link to reportFull country profile: Nicaragua, from Trade Unions of the World (2016)

Link to letterIntervention letter: arrest and sentencing of trade unionists (2017)



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