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Haiti - FLASH : Workers forced to take the street, companies close
20/05/2017 09:06:26

Haiti - FLASH : Workers forced to take the street, companies close
Friday, several thousand workers in the textile subcontracting industry took the streets to demand an increase in the daily minimum wage from 350 to 800 gourdes in addition to social benefits (subsidies for food, transport and construction of social housing) in order to cope with the increase in fuel prices, public transport tariffs and rising cost of living...

For the trade unionist Dominique St-Eloi in charge of the National Center of Haitian Workers (CNOHA), this demonstration expresses the frustration of the Workers' Associations after the broken promises of the authorities.

However, the spontaneous and voluntary aspect of the participation of workers in this event is strongly questioned by Georges B. Sassine, President of the Association of Industries of Haiti (ADIH), worried about the safety of personnel and equipment of textile export companies of the Metapolitan Industrial Park SONAPI and the factories around the airport, which denounced "[...] many of these companies were forcibly invested by 'militants and trade unionists'. The workers were brutalized in order to force them out and later project the image of a spontaneous and peaceful demonstration."

He adds that "ADIH recognizes the workers' right to protest and strike, but considers it disastrous that trade union leaders feeling incapable of sensitizing workers to strike in standards and respecting the law, turn into outlaws to get to hit the workers to bring them out of business," deploring that "he Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and the national security officials, informed in advance, have not taken the necessary measures for the protection of the workers, premises and equipment of these enterprises [...]

At a time when the Government is encouraging aggressive investment in this promising sector in order to seize the opportunity to create massively needed jobs, it is not acceptable for these investors to find themselves in a situation where, because of insecurity they are reconsidering our country in their growth plans.

We have only 40,000 jobs in this sector. It can create hundreds of thousands under the right conditions. We call on the Government, Parliament, Trade Unions and Haitian citizens to realize the importance of this currency-generating sector and its need for stability and peace in order to play its part in our fragile economy," ways Sassine, who announces that the companies concerned will be closed on Saturday 20 and Monday 22 May in order to enable the authorities to take appropriate security measures.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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