Thursday, January 10, 2013

In $7-Per-Day Fight, Haitian Workers Call for North American Support

By David Wilson, Working In These Times
January 9, 2013
Haitian workers rally for a living wage outside an industrial park on October 8, 2012. (Marty Goodman/Socialist Action)

The small workers’ center in Port-au-Prince’s Delmas district was hot and the electricity had gone out, but about three dozen workers from the city’s apparel plants were willing to sit in the dark and the heat for nearly two hours after work one evening in early October to tell a group of U.S. activists about the struggle for better wages in Haiti.

“We have to pay for our transportation,” said “Jean” (not his real name), an employee at the Multiwear Assembly plant in the big industrial park near the airport. “We can’t do anything with our salary. We start work at 6 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m. The quota is huge. We don’t even have time to eat because we can’t meet the quota.”

Protests had broken out at the end of September and the beginning of October, the workers said, after factory owners stepped up production quotas to circumvent an increase in the minimum wage that went into effect on October 1. [...]

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