Workers Shut Down SONAPI Industrial Park In Haiti, Demanding Wages
SONAPI is the acronym for eSociété Nationale des Parcs Industrielsf (National Society of Industrial Parks), a semi-governmental agency that supports the largest number of jobs in the manufacturing sector in Haiti. Caracol Industrial Park (PIC) and Metropolitan Industrial Park are the properties of SONAPI which is an industrial and commercial autonomous body under public law responsible to implement, promote, organize and manage Industrial Parks in the Republic of Haiti. SONAPI was once a pride project of Haiti, opened in September 2012, with the objective of maintaining a constant initiative to boost the employment conditions in Haiti and create 60,000 jobs by 2016. However, since December 2013, news of wage differences started to come out, the brutal exploitation of workers in SONAPI have always remained in the news.
As per 'Lenouvelliste' news reports (dated Oct 10, 2014) the functioning of Caracol Industrial Park (PIC) for the third quarter (July-September 2014) showed exports exceeded the previous quarter by 154% or US$ 57 million and employment increased by 43% (3,324) compared to the same previous quarter. But the activities never grew to the extent as it was projected in the beginning. When the park was opened two years ago, only US$ 5.4 million was released as salary to 4,766 workers until the end of the third quarter (9 months). Low wages, poor working condition and physical abuse of Haitian workers have always remained a concern, it remained a major issue for the 30,000 odd Haitians who work long hours in garment factories for about $5 a day. A minimum wages of 500 gourdes is their long time demand along with other legal compliances, because they receive the lowest wages in the Western hemisphere.
Here are some updates on the SONAPI by the striking Haitian garment workers;
May 11, 2017: Workers Shut Down SONAPI Industrial Park in Haiti, demanding higher wages. Their demands are: (a) A minimum wage adjustment from 350 Gourdes ($5.50 US) to 800 Gourdes ($12.60) per day, on top of meals, transportation and housing subsidies; (b) Social Services: (c) They demand that production quotas do not increase with the increased minimum wage.
May 19, 2017: The strike began in the capital, Port Au Prince, and spread quickly.
May 23, 2017: Haiti National Police riot division, CIMO, attacked workers in the SONAPI Industrial Park, some of the workers returned to work.
May 25, 2017: Premium Apparel factory, owned by the powerful Apaid family started work under police surveillance.
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