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For the labor rights and all human rights of the maquiladora workers

 
   
   
   
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World Trade Watch Radio
Seattle, WA

Interview with Amparo Reyes, member of the CFO

Subjet: Impact of free trade in workers jobs and lives

World Trade Watch is a series of five radio programs produced live from the historic WTO summit in Seattle from November 29th to December 3rd, 1999. The hour-long broadcasts are hosted by Corporate Watch editor Julie Light and syndicated columnist Norman Solomon.

Day 3, Wednesday December 1. Live audio.

Here with us in the studio is Amparo Reyes, she’s a maquiladora worker. She will be speaking to us through a translator.

Q. Amparo, you’re putting 70 hours per week for what you earn barely 1 dollar an hour, walk us through your day and tell us a little bit how you make ends meet.

A. I’m a single mother, I have two children and I used to work a standard 48 hours work-week for $1.39 dollars. It wasn’t enough so I have to start working 59 hours a week in order to give my children enough food and for education. But now with the free trade agreement between Mexico and U.S., and the WTO I have to work 74 hours a week in order to survive.

Q. You work in a Ford electronics plant. Can you tell us about the working conditions there?

A. Working conditions over there are inhumane because we don’t have enough equipment to work…we don’t have protective equipment to protect ourselves from toxic substances and the working space is very tight.

Q. You work in the U.S. — Mexico border for a U.S.A. company, how has free trade specifically affected you in your life?

A. It affects me morally, physically and socially because I can’t have a day of rest. I can’t have time to talk to my children about the problems they have or the problems that I have. It’s very difficult to me because I like the government to know that poor people…we also have the right to live. And maybe they have never arrived to their homes and discover that they have nothing to eat. I want my children to be able to continue school to be useful to society.

Unfortunately we’re out of time, Amparo Reyes works for the Ford maquiladora in northern Mexico; we thank you so much for joining us.

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