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23 Jun 2021

Contra Corriente

Honduras: Delta Apparel workers denounce labour rights violations during the pandemic; actions include dismissal of sick and pregnant workers

"People sick or incapacited due to working conditions fired with pandemic as the excuse", 30 June 2021

...In August 2020, one of the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Honduras...[,]...Delta Apparel...[laid off]...430 of her coworkers. Sonia and many of her laid-off coworkers had work-related musculoskeletal conditions, and some were pregnant... Honduran labor leaders and social activists claim that during the pandemic (5,789 dead and 222,118 infected to date, according to government data), workers suffered countless violations of their labor rights that went unchecked by the Ministries of Justice and Labor... This executive decree authorized companies to suspend labor contracts for up to four months in order to save jobs...[W]hat happened at Delta Apparel’s Villanueva plant...is a snapshot of what happened in the entire Honduran maquila sector...Regalado said that a number of maquilas violated labor rights, including one in Choloma called Prime Manufacturing which forced pregnant women to work. “They made them come to work and didn’t send them to see doctors even though they had COVID symptoms,” she said...Sonia says that Delta Apparel violated labor rights in various ways during the pandemic. “The government gave them the green light to do all that. When constitutional rights were suspended, they did whatever they wanted. They took away our vacation time and began laying off massive numbers of workers, including pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions”...This is not the first time Delta Apparel has been accused of labor rights violations. It was sued in 2017 after firing 24 workers with musculoskeletal disorders...