Dominican Republic: layoffs hit FTZs

At least 5,000 workers have been laid off recently in free trade zone (FTZ) factories in the Dominican Republic’s Santiago province, according to the United Unions Federation, which is made up of 38 unions in the northern Dominican Republic. FTZs are industrial parks for tax-exempt assembly plants producing for export. The job cuts included layoffs of 1,000 workers at FM Industries, which makes pants for export to the US, on April 7; the dismissal of 2,000 workers by a plant that made cigars for export to the US and Europe; and the loss of 600 jobs when a footwear company closed after 50 years in business. (Latin American Herald Tribune, April 9 from EFE)

The report on job losses came as the United Nations was preparing for an April 14 donors conference in Washington, DC, with a focus on a two-year program for creating 150,000 jobs in Haiti, the Dominican Republic’s neighbor. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former US president Bill Clinton are to participate; they have been promoting FTZ expansion as an engine for Haiti’s economic development. (Agence France Presse, April 10)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 12

See our last posts on the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the econocataclysm.