On May 11, 2017: Haitian Workers Shut Down Industrial park SONAPI in Haiti, demanding higher wages. What did they want exactly? One, Their demanded a minimum wage adjustment from 350 Gourdes ($5.50 US) to 800 Gourdes ($12.60) per day. In addition, they want meals, transportation, housing subsidies. They also want that production quotas do not increase with the increased minimum wage.
Recent report would suggested that SONAPI as well as Caracol Industrial Parks have been doing very well. As per "Lenouvelliste'", production at Caracol Industrial Park increased by 154% for the third quarter (July-September 2014).
The real rate of unemployment in Haiti is around three quarters of the population despite the government record shows it at 40%.
In an effort to calm the recent street protests about the minimum salary, the government of Jocelerme Privert has announced that a new Decree will be issued today (May 19, 2016). o increase the minimum salary of the employees in Haiti. As a result, the Supreme Council of Salaries has reacted favorably to the announcement. On his part, Prime minister Enex Jean-Charles continues to invite all sectors of the population to work together, stating that only peace and political stability can help the country to find the path of economic development.
What do you think?
Going against Haitian law, which demands workers be paid a minimum of 300 gourdes for an eight-hour shift, the Council on Salaries (CSS) agreed to raise daily pay to only 225 gourdes.
Outraged members of the Collective of Textile Factory Unions (KOSIT) protested in Port-au-Prince and Ouanaminthe for a 500-gourde daily wage. Textile manufacturers responded acceding to the demands of KOSIT would hinder Haiti from being competitive with Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Tellingly, those countries are infamous for intolerable work conditions and worker abuse.
Avoiding the issue of punitive wages for textile workers, the Association of Haitian Industries asserts, keeping wages extremely low will ". . . help Haiti open up and present itself as a country that is changing and modernizing . . ." To whose benefit?
Employers in the Haitian garment manufacturing industry are exploiting their workers as a dirt-cheap form of labor, as well as forcing them to work under unsafe conditions in violation of laws governing the industry. Garment workers are drastically underpaid, on average 32% less than minimum wage requirements. The standard pay rate is $4.54 per eight-hour shift. If they make their quota for the day they receive $6.81. The quotas are set are unrealistically high, the better for employers to avoid paying an extra $2.27 per day.
Henri-Claude Muller-Poitevien, who heads the government of Haiti's Garment Sector Commission (GSC), has an explanation why garment workers can't meet the daily quota. He says they are less able, and need practice to work faster and more competently.
Around 29000 workers working in the garment assemblies are fighting a wage of $7 for eight hours work which is 300 Haitian gourds per day.
In early October, around three dozen workers from Port au Prince, Delmas district, in Haiti went and shared their grievances about their struggle to earn better wages in Haiti with the United States activists.
They were willing to sit in the heat and dark for hours together to share their grievance. One of the employees at Multiwear Assembly Plant complained that he had to pay for his own transportation and couldn't do anything much with the salary earned.
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