Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador: Maquila workers challenge employer attempts to violate labour rights through measures taken to combat COVID-19

Author: Solidarity Center (USA), Published on: 23 March 2020

“COVID-19: Maquila workers shouldn’t bankroll employers”, 20th March 2020

…Maquila workers in El Salvador and Honduras are challenging employer attempts to use the coronavirus as a way to cut wages, layoff workers and even stop worker efforts to form unions.

In Honduras, after the government on March 15 barred groups larger than 50 from gathering to stem the spread of COVID-19, most maquila employers told workers to go home when they showed up the next day for work.

But at some apparel factories, workers were expected to continue as usual, including at a Gildan plant where 2,400 workers make T-shirts and sweatshirts for export…

The government of El Salvador closed all public and private enterprises March 16, and labor inspectors were at plants the next day to ensure they shut their doors. But many managers are asking workers to sign “severance agreements,” which provide an immediate payment but ensures they will not be rehired…

In Guatemala, where the government has issued mandatory safety precautions at workplaces, including requiring employers to provide transportation for workers because public transportation has been halted, maquila employers are demanding garment workers stay on the job…

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Related companies: Gildan Activewear