Labour conditions improve in Free Trade Zones

NSCAG News | on: Thursday, 2 August 2012
Origional source: nicanet.org

Unions have helped to ensure that nearly 100,000 textile workers, overwhelmingly female, have benefitted from vastly improved working conditions in Nicaragua’s maquilas (foreign owned clothing factories in the Free Trade Zones). Trade unions are key players in tripartite talks which also bring together the employers and the Ministry of Labour. Here, negotiations take place regarding minimum wage, healthcare, meal subsidies and working conditions. When the first maquilas opened in 1991, there were just 9,000 workers. Since then the sector has exploded and last year exported over US$2bn of products. Before the current Sandinista government, working conditions in the factories were frequently described as inhumane, and those who tried to organise unions were often fired. Today most factories are unionised and there are more government inspectors, and greater labour stability.



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