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'Serious Violations of Workers Rights'

'Serious Violations of Workers' rights in the Export Zones of the Dominican Republic

Brussels, 24 November 2008 (ITUC OnLine): Serious violations of workers 'rights, particularly in export processing zones, are highlighted in a new ITUC report on the Dominican Republic issued today to coincide with the country's trade policy review at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"Of the 57 companies operating in the export processing zones (EPZ), which employ some 155,000 workers, the trade unions tell us that they have only been permitted to organise in eight companies," said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder. "Workers are wary of discussing trade union activities in the workplace, even during breaks, for fear of losing their jobs. Lists of union activists are distributed to stop them from finding jobs. Some companies even turn to specialised agencies when hiring staff in order to screen out trade union activists."

The ITUC report denounces a series of grave violations of the ILO's eight core labour conventions. Violations of freedom of association, collective bargaining and of the right to strike are common in the country. The ILO, through its supervisory organs, has denounced these practices and continues urging the government to bring its labour legislation into compliance with the standards of the ILO conventions it has ratified, but so far to no avail.

Open discrimination prevails based on gender, race, disability or against people living with AIDS. Furthermore, few resources are channelled into the fight against child labour even though it is a widespread practice, mainly in informal operations and in tourist resorts, where child commercial exploitation is very common.

The report condemns the trafficking of people, mainly women and children for commercial sexual exploitation. There have been reports of corruption of civil servants that have hindered efforts to deal with the problem, the survey states.

The report ends with a summary of recommendations and conclusions addressed to the government of the Dominican Republic to redress its noncompliance with ILO core labour standards and aimed at achieving effective policies to tackle the labour and social problems the country faces today.

To see the full report:

http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC.final.pdf

ENDS

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