Company in Leon, Nicaragua Sends 10,000 Workers Home over COVID-19

Yazaki, the largest free trade zone company in the country, suspends operations: they will receive 50% of their salary while the emergency lasts

Mar 27 2020

HAVANA TIMES – The multinational Yazaki, of Japanese origin, stopped operations this weekend in western Nicaragua to prevent the spread of coronavirus Covid-19. The 10,000 workers at the free trade company, located in Leon, were verbally notified of the temporary cessation of work, during which time they will receive 50% of the salary.

A company source explained to Confidencial that the work break will last 15 days and they plan to resume work on April 13, after Easter week. Meanwhile, the quality control area will take advantage of the downtime to “redistribute the production lines.”

The decision of the free trade zone company derives from a three-party agreement signed in the framework of the coronavirus pandemic. It establishes that to prevent infections, and due to reductions of production orders by brands or for a lack of raw materials, the companies could: “grant permits with percentual payment of wages, grant an advance on vacations, reduce working hours and carry out remote work activities.”

The agreement that was endorsed by unions such as the Sandinista Workers’ Confederation (CST) and the Jose Benito Escobar Workers’ Trade Union (CST: JBE) and also contemplates “temporary suspension of employment contracts under article 38 of the Labor Code.”

Sandra Ramos, a former union leader, and founder of the Maria Elena Cuadra Women’s Movement, questioned the methods used and decisions.

“When a company suspends (workers) on a large scale, workers, according to article 38, only receive six days of salary. Afterwards, what will happen to them? How are they going to pay their debts or buy food?

Yazaki is a Japanese factory dedicated to the production and export of automotive harnesses. It currently has five plants located in Leon and Chinandega and constitutes one of the main sources of employment in the western part of the country.

 

Complete story here.