From Wed Oct 30 07:30:13 2002
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 17:07:03 -0600 (CST)
From: NicaNet <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 146532
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Free Trade Zone Factory Management Humiliates Workers

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 28 October 2002

Hundreds of workers at the King Yong garment factory in Managua protested last week that the Korean owners of the factory are violating their labor and human rights. Harling Bobadilla, of the Garment Workers Federation said that management had not provided a place for the workers to eat lunch and that safety and hygiene rules laid out by the Ministry of Labor were being violated. Workers are required to work Saturdays and Sundays but are not paid for that extra work. The workers are promised a base salary of US$17 per week, but they say that when they receive their pay, it only totals US$15. The owners refuse to pay workers anything above base pay based on their how much they produce, in open violation of the labor code, according to Bobadilla. The workers also say that they are threatened by managers carrying big sticks which the managers say are to make them work.

The workers are afraid to organize a union because the owners fire workers frequently for little or no reason. Bobadilla said that the Ministry of Labor has still not authorized the King Yong factory to function legally in Nicaragua because it has not fulfilled the safety and hygiene requirements as yet. Gilberto Wong, who is the executive director of the Free Trade Zone Corporation, said that he was unaware that the factory was operating in the country. [The factory is not located within the Las Mercedes Free Trade Zone.] Workers said that they had taken complaints about the factory to the inspector general at the Labor Ministry and while they were promised an inspection of the factory would be carried out soon, no inspectors have visited the factory yet. Bobadilla said that the Garment Workers Federation was preparing to make known to the international labor rights movement the cruel way in which workers are being treated.