Fired Guatemalan Workers Burn Korean Textile Factory

January 26, 2007

GUATEMALA CITY – Workers fired from a South Korean-owned clothing plant in the Guatemalan capital looted and set fire to the facility in an expression of rage over not receiving final paychecks or severance compensation, police said.

The sacking and arson took place Jan. 20 at the Genesis Feliz textile factory on the south side of the city.

A group of recently fired workers went to the plant to demand payment, but found no manager or executive of the company there.

“They were unhappy and chose to sack the plant of machinery and equipment, along with assembled clothing and raw materials,” a police spokesperson said.

Having loaded up all they could, they poured gasoline on the remaining bolts of fabric and other materials and set the plant ablaze. The fire raged for more than two hours before firefighters brought it under control.

There were no reports of injuries or arrests in the incident.

The incident was the latest in a series of conflictive closings of maquila factories, as the foreign-owned textile plants are known.

In many or most of the cases, the owners close up shop without paying workers either salaries owed or severance. The national Clothing and Textile Commission said 20 clothing assembly factories closed in Guatemala last year. The owners generally attributed the move to “the high cost of labor and electricity,” the commission said recently.

The closures left some 5,000 without jobs.

An estimated 100,000 Guatemalans, mostly poor young women from rural areas, work at some 300 maquilas throughout the country.

 

You may be interested

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby
sports
80 views
sports
80 views

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 22, 2018

A three-part look at adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I here to learn how a Central Pacific coach is…

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network
Human rights
89 views
Human rights
89 views

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network

Elizabeth Lang - May 22, 2018

As Costa Rica continues to grapple with the disagreements about marriage equality and gender identity that dominated the second round…

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week
The Alvarado Administration
152 views
The Alvarado Administration
152 views

Costa Rica at a glance: top news from the past week

The Tico Times - May 21, 2018

Newly inaugurated Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado is closing in on two weeks on the job. Here are some of…