Better Work Nicaragua has been at the forefront of bringing together national stakeholders in the apparel industry to develop an emergency response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country. While the official number of confirmed infections remains low, the industry is bracing for a potential increase in the near term.
Better Work has been working with the country’s Ministry of Labour, which is also a member of the National Tripartite Free Trade Zone Commission, to develop an early response. As a result, the tripartite body has recently reached an emergency agreement recommending proactive measures to protect workers livelihoods during the crisis. Potential responses include advances on severance pay, distribution of food packages, and special protections for elderly workers, pregnant women and workers with underlying conditions.
Meanwhile, prevention measures adopted across Nicaragua’s garment factories include temperature checks of all the personnel and suppliers, frequent handwashing with soap and hand sanitizer, provision of masks and gloves to all employees, including drivers and the security personnel. Thorough disinfections have also been conducted across the factory floor and other common areas of many production plants.
Posters calling on the workers to avoid close contact, shaking hands, kissing and hugging each other have been displayed across Nicaragua’s factories to avert contagion. Meanwhile, health information and awareness campaigns have been broadcast through audio messages inside the production premises.
Better Work Nicaragua has been conducting virtual advisory and training sessions with its affiliated factories, stressing the necessary containment measures all companies should strictly observe to guarantee the safety of their workforce.