Friday, December 16, 2005

More on maquiladora factories

Workers have been protesting at a maquiladora clothing factory run by Evergreen / Formosa since late November. The plant appears to be closing to move to a lower cost country, perhaps Honduras. From Students Against Sweatshops campaign:

Evergreen management in El Salvador told all of its 550 workers on Thanksgiving that they were being suspended without pay for 3 months because the factory didn't have orders. Workers knew that there were orders in the factory and decided to take matters into their own hands. Since the weekend of November 25th, workers have been maintaining a peaceful protest outside the factory, making sure that none of the materials or machinery are moved to another nearby factory that is now producing for the same client, Columbia Sportswear. So far they have kept up their good spirits, but as the holidays draw closer, the workers and their families are desperate to see the Labor Ministry declare that they have in fact been illegally fired and that the factory must therefore pay them their full severance, lost salaries, and Christmas bonuses. The Labor Ministry is dragging its feet doing the necessary inspections. But one thing is clear, the factory is not about to reopen. Once the workers get what they are due - about half a million dollars in total - they will be able to get jobs elsewhere. Until that happens, they are camping on the street with their children.
There is another report in Diario CoLatino (in Spanish) regarding the workers desire to prevent machinery from being taken from the factory to other locations. You can also read a 1999 audit regarding working conditions in the Evergreen facility at that time.

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