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Article

9 Aug 2022

Author:
Terrance Heath, Solidarity Center

Haiti: Garment workers win transportation & lunch stipends for workers in union-government negotiations following minimum wage protests

Alamy

"HAITI GARMENT WORKERS WIN KEY BENEFIT" 9 August 2022

Haitian garment workers scored a huge victory as a coalition of unions negotiated an agreement with the government to provide garment workers in Port-Au-Prince with transportation and food stipends. 

“In our struggle for a better working environment and fair wages we have always emphasized that the government should provide social support to workers, especially those in the textile sector. And here it is for the first time that our demands have been heard, even if it is not yet in effect, but the government has planned to accompany the workers by offering them transportation and food costs for an amount of 135,000,000 gourdes ($1,116,595),” said Telemarque Pierre, coordinator of SOTA- Batay Ouvriye...

The government will distribute the funds via a mobile app. The stipend will cover the cost of travel to and from the factory, and include a lunch stipend. Inflation and gang violence have led to skyrocketing prices for food and fuel such that workers cannot afford travel to and from work or food at lunchtime. 

The agreement underscores the importance and effectiveness of unions in improving the lives of workers...

The agreement is the result of minimum wage protests by garment workers in January 2022. Fueled by frustration over three years without a minimum wage increase and the rising cost of basic necessities and services, workers at the SONAPI industrial park in Port-Au-Prince held a spontaneous protest to call for a wage increase...

The protests led to negotiations between the government and a coalition of nine textile unions. The coalition’s advocacy resulted in an increase of the minimum wage from 500 gourdes ($4.82) per day to 685 gourdes ($5.85) per day. 

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