Haiti: Combating for members’ survival


From International Employee No. 2 November 2020

Text: Laura

Carter Nation: Haiti Union: Groupement des Travailleurs(euses) du Fabric pour la Réexportation d’Assemblage

(GOSTTRA) The young union has nearly doubled its membership in the previous eight years and also now stands for 2,300 workers in eleven factories, yet the hostility of employers and also the government’s failing to protect workers’ rights present a real obstacle to subscription development at once when Haitian garment workers seriously need strong unions.Haiti’s garment employees encounter an unpredictable future. Approximately a 3rd of the nation’s 57,000 garment employees are presently suspended or terminated and also have yet to receive any kind of compensation from the government in spite of earlier assurances. In spite of arguments from GOSTTRA and also various other unions, the remainder are working reduced hours in harmful manufacturing facilities that do not have also one of the most fundamental safety measures to assist prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Decades of economic policies targeted at attracting foreign investment, including wage reductions, duty-free manufacturing as well as 15-year tax holidays for business located in open market zones have left workers on the knife-edge of hardship and have actually denied the government of the tax profits required to build proper health care and also social safeguard. Claims GOSTTRA general assistant Reginald Lafontant:”Employees were extended to the limit also prior to the pandemic, so they have no cost savings to draw on– actually, a lot of

of them were currently in the red before the crisis hit.” A study conducted in 2014 by United States Solidarity Center revealed that the minimum wage for a 48-hour week covered less

than a quarter of the quantity employees require in order to sufficiently provide for themselves and also their families. Haitian garment workers duke it out the predicament of malnourishment wages every day, and the circumstance has intensified as food rates have escalated. Much to GOSTTRA’s disappointment, the government appears shockingly out of touch with the extreme hardships employees deal with. At a current conference with trade unionists, Head of state Jovenel Moïse flatly overlooked needs for a rise in the minimum wage.” You know”, he said,”I get stress from all sides. Employers are asking me to reduced salaries.”Lafontant wrote out a listing of the daily expenses sustained by garment workers and also handed it to Head of state. It showed how an employee’s entire day-to-day base pay of 500 gourdes is invested prior to he or she even obtains house.”

An employee commonly leaves residence at 5am as well as does not obtain house till 7pm. Transportation to and from the factory costs concerning 150 gourdes. A meal outside the factory gate expenses 75 gourdes; a moderate lunch will certainly occupy a more 155 gourdes;

a couple of soft drinks during the program of the day will set you back 120 gourdes, and that’s it, there’s nothing left of the base pay. So exactly how are we expected to endure?” Not satisfied with paying rock-bottom wages, employers regularly cheat their employees. 2 workers passed away during the summertime after being refuted healthcare facility treatment because their employer had actually not paid the social safety and security payments deduced from their wages. This sparked weeks of protests at the manufacturing facility. Employers are securing down against GOSTTRA union leaders who are trying to safeguard their participants’interests.Hundreds of union leaders as well as participants have been dismissed or terminated complying with objections over unjust treatment. A serene October 7 presentation arranged by GOSTTRA in the SONAPI free trade zone was quelched by police.

Haiti’s garment sector Kind Not surprisingly, Haiti is just one of 8 top priority nations for ILO’s Phone call to activity to support the garment market which is simply obtaining underway in the country. GOSSTRA, together with its nationwide center CTSP and other garment unions are collaborating their efforts to push for defense for garment workers.