16 February 2016
After Sandra Ramos’ speaker tour in London on November 2015, CAWN is pleased to announce that the Movement of Employed and Unemployed Women Maria Elena Cuadra (MEC) is to receive funding for a new project aimed at promoting the Health and Safety of Women Workers in Nicaragua’s Free Trade Zones.
Maquila factories, which provide employment to approximately 103,000 workers in Nicaragua, predominantly women, are notorious for their bad working conditions, long hours, forced overtime, low pay and frequent violations of health and safety regulations. MEC –– one of CAWN’s longest standing partners in Nicaragua – has extensive experience of working in the maquila sector. With this project, they hope to be able to make significant advances in relation to promoting health and safety improvements in the factories, which remain a major concern. The Project will include factory-based research, intensive university-based training for 30 women activists in the maquila sector, youth camps for the sharing and exchange of knowledge and experience across different municipalities, and the establishment of a Technical Committee constituted by MEC, the National Committee of Female Trade Unionists and representatives of 2 Universities, whose primary mission will be to develop a strategy for the integration of women workers’ health and safety demands within the National Commission of the Free Trade Zones, the Employment and Health Ministries and the health clinics in the factories.
The Project will commence in June 2016 and run for 12 months.
MEC will provide a full-time Project Coordinator and the remaining project costs will be covered by UNISON’S International Development Fund (UIDF), which was established to support the union’s international policy objectives aimed at supporting the development of sustainable trade unions and workers’ movements in the Global South. This initiative was first discussed at UNISON’ s offices during Sandra Ramos’s speaker tour last November, funded and organised by CAWN.