This article analyses the systems of worker participation in company profits or operating results applied in Latin America and their capacity to meet the needs of the economic context in which companies operate. After an introduction (section I);, a brief outline of variable wage systems is presented and the main features of the participation systems used in four Latin American countries (Chile, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela); are described (section II);. The characteristics of these systems are then compared with each other and with those of the system adopted in Brazil since 1994 (section III);. The application of these forms of participation is then evaluated, and information on the Mexican profit sharing system is presented to this end (section IV);. On the basis of still rather fragmentary information, some aspects which seem important for making a preliminary evaluation of the Brazilian system are then discussed (section V);. By way of conclusion, the desirability of applying such participation instruments in the new economic and labour context is analysed (section VI);.