Tag Archives: wages

Miami Developing: Investors Paid, Workers Screwed

By Ricardito

Like all major cities, Miami (a strategically located port city) is undergoing a major development transformation. Everywhere you go in Miami, you see construction cranes operated by a score of low wage brutally over worked workers. Many of these workers are recent migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean. Many are Miami locals trying to feed themselves and their families in a rapidly changing world. Drowning under rent, food costs, and other piles of bills, these workers work long hours, sweating day in and out, some working 6 or 7 days a week. This is not something unusual but rather more and more common all across the world. Miami after all is an international city, meaning what we see here is a glimpse of the world, with different ethnicities, different languages, rich cultures, and extremely polarized (vastly different) living conditions depending on which class you belong to.

Who’s Getting Paid?

Investment capital is flooding Miami. Investors from all over the world are leading the transformation of the City, especially the Downtown and Brickell areas. These “investors” (Capitalists) have been buying up tons of real estate for tens of millions of dollars a pop (can you imagine having so much money by doing no work?!). Brickell, called “Manhattan of the South”, is home to the highest concentration of international banks in the country after Manhattan

                                                                                                                    …..Where’s the worker’s share?……

Who’s Not Getting Paid?

Look around Miami and what do you see? With an unemployment rate of 5.6% as of August 2016 (more than the 5.2% US unemployment rate for the same period), this development “boom” is not evident for us all is it? NO! The working people of Miami AS ALWAYS are under a direct assault of capitalism’s “prosperity”. Construction workers in Miami (the very people building ALL of the new developments, the offices, the condos, etc) are paid wages that are 5% lower than the rest of the country! Meanwhile, Miami is seeing investment of over $10 billion dollars! Ye you read that right!

This isn’t a shock to us who work day to day just to afford a living (barely). We see the luxurious cars on the streets, the skyline being taken over by high rise offices and condos, new playgrounds and events for the rich popping up all the time. BUT WHAT ABOUT US?! We get the low wages as everything around us is rising in costs. We are told by the Capitalist press that we should be thankful to these “job creators” (THE NERVE!). Mind you, the CEOs, the “investors”, the people behind Clinton and Trump, are making tens of millions of dollars a year, EACH!

How can this be? How can the costs to live be sky rocketing, the profits of capitalist CEOs+investor returns be in the millions each as we are paid less, forced to work overtime, work multiple jobs, etc. just to survive?

The answer is simple, tragically so. It is the working class who not only builds and produces and gives value to EVERYTHING in the capitalist economy, but it is the working class who is exploited so that their exploiters can earn those profits, off their backs! Workers are paid less, produce all, transform steel beams and plywood and pipes into giant buildings which are sold for billions by people who do none of the work and “own” all the property. Meanwhile, the workers are forced to struggle day to day.

Workers who build the private hospitals can’t afford the medical care to go to those very same hospitals.

             The workers who build all the condos can’t afford to live in those very same condos

How Does This Make Sense?

Unless we fight back, this situation will only get worse! Workers Struggle isn’t buying the lies of the capitalist politicians and their media and other screaming parts of the machine telling us why we should suffer every day, why our children should have no hope for a future and our planet should head to a grave. Workers have the power, but WE MUST ORGANIZE! Together, we can fight back! Together, we can form organizations to stand up to the bosses and build a mass movement led by and for the workers and laborers! Together, we can do what we have always done in history to make our lives better and put the future of our world, into our hands!

Together we can control our own lives!






Fired textile workers call for support!!

500gourdesWe received the following from the Rapid Response Network:

Textile workers in Haiti ask that we pressure H&H sweatshop (where clothing for retailers like Walmart is produced) to rehire the workers who were fired, respect the right to organize, and to pay the wages workers demand. Working class solidarity knows no borders! Workers of the world: unite! Please share widely.

Details here: http://goo.gl/PW0h8l

and here:

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Garment workers in Haiti: text of press conference June 10



[original Kreyol version is below]

Greetings to our Media Friends, radio, newspaper and television covering the Press Conference that PLASIT-BO is giving today. The objective of this conference is to make known our position after the mobilization we launched since this past April 14 to pressure the government to set the minimum wage at 500 Gourdes ($7.94) at the very least and other accompanying demands. We can say that our mobilization did bear fruit because it impeded the offer of 265 Gourdes (US $4.21) that the capitalists wanted to shove down our throats.

Notwithstanding the fact that we are not satisfied with the Executive Order setting the wage at 300 Gourdes (US $4.76) as reference wage and 350 Gourdes (US $5.56) as minimum wage for workers in production, we recognize this will allow us to negotiate with several capitalists on the question of piece work and force them to pay arrears since May First that they owe us, just as this is being done even today as we speak in CODEVI, Ouanaminthe. In addition, we wrote to the president of the Social Affairs Commission of the two branches of Parliament to express our concerns on the 2009 law, which creates a lot of confusion about two minimum wages existing in the sector; they are playing deaf and are dragging their feet with absenteeism in the parliament, while issues that are sensitive and important to the people are at rest in the drawers.

We are denouncing with all our strength acts of repression perpetrated by capitalists such as Alain Villard and Clifford Apaid against many of our comrades, namely the General Coordinator of SOTA-BO and spokesperson of PLASIT-BO, Telemarque Pierre, and the Assistant Coordinator of a SOTA section in Premium Apparel and two other comrades in Palm Apparel after the day of mobilization on May 11 and May 19, 2016, which PLASIT-BO launched to demand that the government set the minimum wage immediately.

Those capitalists, Clifford Apaid and Alain Villard, are simply defending their own interests, not only as reactionary bourgeois, but also, they act according to the dictate from a US Department of Labor memo sent to them after ADIH, which called us ‘terrorists’, in cahoots with Better Work denounced and condemned the so-called acts of violence they said were perpetrated against property and people on the days of mobilization.

The firings represent hallmarks of anti-union and arbitrary discrimination and retaliation. They want to punish union organizers that stand up to fight for just demands on the pretext of violence on the days of our mobilization. While we are fighting for the reinstatement of our comrades who were victims of the repression of the capitalists, we are continuing to fight for other demands associated with wages such as the social benefits we called for in our mobilization, namely, food subsidies, schools for our children, transportation, and social housing. True, we got a little something with Executive Order on the wage adjustment, but the fight is not over. That is why we demand:

  • Reinstatement of our comrades, Telemarque Pierre, Clerger Felixon, Cadet Mackenzie and Adrien Jean Anslo immediately in their post unconditionally.
  • That the Ministry of Social Affairs launch meetings with the unions, management and the social security institutions to discuss the recommendations that the Supreme Salary Council made in its last report, such as the question of social benefits, and then conclude with a clear resolution to make sure this question is really implemented.
  • The Haitian State should provide a mechanism to relaunch negotiations on the reforms to the Labor Code, because the existing code does not conform to the present reality.
  • The Supreme Salary Council should make plans to start meeting in the month of July in order to be able to make its recommendations in a timely manner in the month of October as it should.
  • The Parliament should make plans to legislate a new law on the minimum wage. The 2009 law is full of confusion and does not conform to today’s reality.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in particular the Free Trade Zone Administration, should immediately stop dragging its feet on the project to build a cafeteria in CODEVI, since the money is already allocated, so workers can eat in a decent environment.





Telemarque Pierre, SOTA-BO


Port-Au-Prince, June 10, 2016

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We’re In This Together!!

We in Workers Struggle and working people in the US and Canada support textile workers in Haiti, members of the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO), who are fighting for the minimum wage and the right to organize.

We are watching how companies and political agencies and NGOs are putting obstacles in front of workers who are struggling for a better life. Similar outrages are perpetrated upon us – often at the hands of these same multinational companies and institutions, and their allies!

Workers around the world suffer while a small minority gets rich by exploiting us. We need to reach our hands across the borders they created, and start coordinating our struggles. If we stand together, these companies won’t be able to keep pushing us into their “race to the bottom,” forcing us to compete for the lowest pay. Instead, we need to force them to pay at least a living wage to all workers, everywhere!

We demand:

* Premium factory: No retaliation against union organizers! Rehire Telemarque Pierre!
* Gildan and other global brands: Make sure the factories you contract with—everywhere—pay workers what they are due, and treat workers with dignity!
* Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor of Haiti: Concede to workers’ demands for a minimum wage of 500 gourdes!

Workers of Haiti, we stand in solidarity with you in our common fight. As we support your struggle, our best contribution is to build a strong, autonomous, militant working class movement of our own, in the belly of the beast. That is our goal!


WorkersStruggle-Fort Lauderdale
WorkersStruggle-Sudbury, Ontario

Call for Solidarity: Demand Reinstatement of Union Organizer in Haiti

We received the following call for international solidarity from Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO). Please take action, and send solidarity statements to the workers (info below). Kreyol original is behind the cut.

Textile workers mobilize for the minimum wage May 11, 2016 in Port-au-Prince.

Textile workers mobilize for the minimum wage May 11, 2016 in Port-au-Prince.

Following the day of mobilization on May 11, 2016 that the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO) launched to demand that the government set the minimum wage at 500 Gourdes ($7.94 for an eight-hour workday) and publish an Executive Order to make it official immediately, Clifford Apaid, owner of the plant, Premium Apparel, made the decision to fire our comrade, Telemarque Pierre, General Coordinator of Apparel and Textile Workers Union (SOTA-BO) and spokesperson for PLASIT, on Saturday May 14, 2016.

The firing is an act of repression, which is not a surprise to us after we learned of the declarations of capitalist organizations such as ADIH (Haitian Industrialists Association), Better Work and USDOL (United States Department of Labor). They are united to denounce and condemn acts of violence they claim to have been committed against property and people during the day of mobilization. After these declarations of war, we knew the bosses were going to retaliate against us, workers, who are fighting to change our lives.

We denounce the repression against our comrade. We say, “an injury to one is injury to all of us.” We’re calling on our friends and comrades, brothers and sisters in national and international organizations to demand the reinstatement of Telemarque Pierre in his post immediately.

To do so, contact the companies and agencies below :

Premium Apparel (factory): premium@agacorp.com

Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST), Haiti : maffairesocial@yahoo.fr


In addition, you can contact the following:

AGA Corporation (Premium is its subsidiary):
7209 NW 41 St., Miami, FL 33166-6711

Gildan (the international clothing brand that contracts with Premium):
Jason M. Greene, Director of Supply Chain: 843-606-3750
Corporate office (Montreal): 514-735-2023; toll free 866-755-2023; info@gildan.com
Customer Service (Charleston, SC): 843-606-3600
Twitter: @GildanOnline; facebook.com/GildanOnline/

Use #RehirePierre #SolidarityForever #500Gourdes

Send statements of solidarity directly to the textile workers, and let them know of your activities: batay@batayouvriye.org

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This Thursday 5/19: Textile Workers in Haiti Pledge to Mobilize Against Repression!!


[Kreyol original below]

Management has begun a repression campaign following the day of mobilization on May 11, 2016 by the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO) to demand that the government set the minimum wage at 500 Gourdes ($7.94 for an eight-hour workday) and publish an Executive Order to make it official immediately.  The general coordinator of the Apparel and Textile Workers Union-Batay Ouvriye (SOTA-BO) and spokesperson of PLASIT, Telemarque Pierre, has been fired on Saturday May 14, 2016 with no motive given. This act of repression is not a surprise to us coming from the factory boss, Clifford Apaid. He’s simply acting on his interest not only as a reactionary bourgeois, but also, acting in accordance to the dictates of his masters in United States Department of Labor (U.S.D.O.L.). Capitalist organizations such as ADIH (Haitian Industrialists Association) in mesh with Better Work and U.S. Department of Labor are united to denounce and condemn acts of violence they claim to have been committed against property and people during the day of mobilization.

Cheaply said  but badly thought out.  Just as May 11, we have become aware that it is through our COLLECTIVE STRUGGLES WE WILL WRESTLE OUR RIGHTS UNDER THE WEIGHT OF CAPITALISTS, THE HAITIAN STATE AND THEIR IMPERIALIST MASTERS. We, the workers, know very well, “an injury to one is injury to all of us in the working class.” Where were ADIH, USDOL and Better Work for the eight (8) months that nothing was said about our minimum wage ?

Mobilization of textile workers, May 11, 2016, Port-au-Prince

Mobilization of textile workers, May 11, 2016, Port-au-Prince

All of these ravings are a declaration of war against us, workers, who are fighting for a living wage allowing for a better life for our children. They are speaking of violence without thinking about the violence we are subjected to everyday in not being paid a living wage to meet our basic needs such as feeding our children, paying rent, having health insurance even as we work so hard. This is the violence capitalists are perpetrating against us, workers, while the institutions, national as well as international, and the Haitian State, have said nothing against that. They all keep their mouths shut.

It should have been clear to the bosses and their allies, “hungry dogs don’t play!” They are responsible for the conditions that forced us to take to the streets to scream for help so they  give us a minimum wage of at least 500 Gourdes ($7.94 for an eight-hour workday). Neither ADIH, Better Work nor USDOL can understand the extreme violence against us when we cannot feed our children dinner everyday after work. We are forced to go and borrow 20 gourdes ($0.32) in order to give our children sweetened water to drink. They are using a few isolated incidents committed during the living wage mobilization to confuse the issue and make the victims appear to be the bullies. In this way, they can launch a repression campaign or take sanctions against union leaders.

That is why we say : The firing of our comrade will not be tolerated. All employers who wish to use the dictates of USDOL to intimidate us, make us afraid to continue to organize or mobilize, we are telling them, WE WILL NOT OBEY! The Fight for social justice will continue! Our comrade is fired for his union activities, demanding a living wage. Union activities such as strikes and marching cannot be motives to fire a union leader. The firing of our comrade is an act of repression, intimidation and interference in the fundamental rights of workers to organize concerted activities to defend their economic and social interests.

We demand the reinstatement of our comrade, Telemarque Pierre, immediately! Why should he lose his job just because he was doing union business for demands of a collective nature? We disagree with the minimum wage of 265 Gourdes ($4.21) the ADIH employers are pushing for. We will not be intimidated nor give up in this fight. The mobilization for a minimum wage of $500 Gourdes and other demands will continue with more vigor! We will rally on Thursday May 19, 2016 to continue our mobilization in front of SONAPI and march to the National Palace.




PLASIT-BO/MAY 16, 2016

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Workers Shut Down SONAPI Industrial Park in Haiti, Demanding Wages


A news report by Vant Bef Info, May 11, 2016. Translation by Google Translate, slightly edited [original French below]:

9:30 am

Workers of subcontracting firms currently begin (9:30 am) a work stoppage followed by a sit-in outside the offices of the National Society of Industrial Parks (SONAPI) at the airport road, Vant Bef Info learned.

The initiative came from the employees of manufacturing companies located on the airport road, who headed to SONAPI to find the solidarity of other workers.

The protesters are demanding five hundred (500) gourdes as minimum wage and require, among other things, compliance with legal provisions relating to this issue.

All activities are suspended at SONAPI, businesses doors are closed. As the workers demonstrated, agents of the National Police of Haiti appeared on the scene.

There are tensions at times, and vehicular traffic is very difficult in the area of SONAPI.

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Statement from garment workers in Haiti on May First

BOlogoSquare[Kreyol original is below]


PLASIT-BO (Textile Plant Union Platform – Workers Fight)


MayDay is not “Day of Agriculture and Labor.” It is a day to commemorate the struggles of workers on the planet. To celebrate agriculture and labor is to celebrate a collaboration where workers are forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the bourgeois bosses and the latifundistas together with representatives of the reactionary government. That’s an all-out effort to prevent us from  commemorating what MAYDAY represents for workers all over the world. They say it’s day of agriculture and labor while there is no real policy for the development of agricultural production or investments to create decent jobs at the very least in the country.

MAYDAY is the commemoration of this gigantic FIGHT THE WORKING CLASS throughout the world carried out in 1886 to achieve an 8-hour workday among other demands. Facing off the bourgeois and their reactionary state, this FIGHT began in the city of Chicago in the United States. Quickly, it spread throughout the country. Then a year later, it covered the whole planet. The reactionaries killed workers and laborers, lynched some of them and deported many others. However, the working class fought back also. They struggled and hit back an eye-for-an-eye. There were even special combat organizations, mass mobilizations, FIGHTS everywhere, for a long time. Finally, the bourgeoisie together with their reactionary state conceded to the workers demand for the 8-hour workday for their earned wages.  Haiti is one of a few countries on the planet which does not acknowledge this date and tries to claim it to co-opt workers into class collaboration with the bourgeois bosses. Today, we see through the maneuvers and games of the State where even the governments that claim to be “progressive” show the same reactionary attitude of deviation-cooptation.

That is why PLASIT-BO says: WE WON’T OBEY! We will always wage OUR INDEPENDENT STRUGGLES in the commemoration of MAYDAY. So, in OUR INDEPENDENT MOBILIZATION, in Port-Au-Prince as well as Au Cap, Caracol, and Ouanaminthe, we are raising our immediate demands, namely:

  • A living wage to meet the needs of our children, our families and ourselves. We demand 500 gourdes ($7.94) a day at the very least without increasing the quotas, and other social benefits ;
  • Good working conditions and respect for our union rights to defend our interests ;
  • A new Labor Code that protects all categories of workers against exploitation and humiliation ;
  • A social security system that protects us against line-of-duty accidents, illnesses, maternity and old age based on a real social protection net in the country ;
  • Comprehensive agrarian reform and technical support for peasants and other laborers in the rural areas ;
  • The country to regain its sovereignty to choose its own economic model to create wealth and decent and sustainable work in our territory. And for the State to guarantee a decent living conditions for workers and laborers and their families on the basis of the wealth creation. Therefore, the State must guarantee the social and economic rights of all workers against all national and international capitalists so they don’t step on those rights.

Today, the imperialists, the bourgeoisie and their reactionary State are attempting to disorient our minds on the fraudulent elections; those elections that aggravated the deep structural crisis in the country. Today, the economy is in deep trouble; interference/stewardship and the MINUSTAH military occupation is growing rapidly and threatens our sovereignty as a nation. Therefore, we should not continue to obey this decaying social order. We, workers, laborers, the popular masses in general, to achieve real change in our lives, in the country in general, we must continue to focus on  our true interests firmly so we can contribute to the development of a gigantic movement of uprising that will pave the way for a new Haiti.





May First 2016

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Textile Workers Mobilize in Haiti for Minimum Wage Adjustment — Press Conference

Press Conference on April 14, 2016

Greetings to all our media friends, print as well as television, that come to provide coverage for the conference that PLASIT, which is Textile Plants Union Platform, to launch the mobilization for the minimum wage adjustment for the year 2015-2016. In PLASIT, we notice that 8 months following the beginning of the fiscal year, the Supreme Salary Council finally made recommendations to the government just as it did for the past 2 years. Thus, the Council has adopted a bad habit of not respecting what is stated in Article 4.1 in the Law of 2009 on the minimum wage.


In the Supreme Salary Council, it’s mainly delaying tactics and plots going on. Management and the two so-called union representatives in the Council are dragging their feet so that management may continue to steal several months of workers’ wages. So, management will have more leeway to continue to pay workers measly wages. The 8-month delay is in the interest of management while prices of all basic items are going up and the Social Affairs Ministry does not urge them to respect Article 137 of the Labor Code stipulating that when the inflation rates increases more than 10%, workers’ wages must be adjusted. Today, the inflation rate has reached more than 14.5%. Therefore, the plot against the interests of workers has been consolidated.


We learn that the Council, after 8 months of delaying tactics, proposed a minimum wage of reference of 300 gourdes ($4.76) and the minimum wage for production to be 400 gourdes ($6.35) a day for the textile sector. It’s clear the 300/400gourdes will not solve our problems, especially with the increase in the cost of living, and our purchasing power is plummeting and the value of the gourdes is decreasing in relation to the dollar. For us, at the very least, the minimum wage should be500 gourdes ($7.94) to 1,000 gourdes ($15.87). However, management and their stool-pigeons in the state who get their orders from foreign donors say this will make Haiti non-competitive with other countries. We are denouncing these plot-laden arguments on the backs of workers spilling their blood in the factories.

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The Wage Struggle is Not Simply for a Higher Amount, but Against Exploitation

Report from Garment Workers, CODEVI Free Trade Zone, Ouanaminthe, Haiti

April 9, 2016

For the past 2/3 weeks at the CODEVI plant, there has been a wave of mobilization for wage adjustments.  Workers who sew T-shirt hemlines at the MD factory stood up to demand more money for the quota they were asked to do. They had a two-day strike.

This week, the workers who sew jean pants waists at the AM1 plant rose up to demand wage adjustments also.

After their first day of strike, CODEVI fired seven of them. It was when the workers returned, they found out that security agents stopped the seven from re-entering the factory. That activated a second day of strike in solidarity with the fired workers. The workers were in the factory already. However, when they learned that seven of them were fired (two fired based on article 42, and five fired based on article 37), they began to mobilize inside the plant. So the other factories joined in.


After lunch, the workers didn’t return to the plant but instead took to the streets in Ouanaminthe to protest and voice their demands.

They chanted all kinds of slogans. Some demanded wage increases, others demanded the return of the ONA insurance moneys taken from them each payroll (this is pension money). Problem is that the workers don’t see the necessity to put money away in a pension fund for later in life. They have no confidence in ONA insurance as a public institution. They protested on the streets of Ouanaminthe until they reached the offices of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. In the negotiations that began, there was an agreement on quotas. But there was no change in articles 42 and 37 for the 2 fired workers. This was what motivated the workers to take the mobilization to the streets to denounce CODEVI for the decision to fire the 7 workers and the question of wages or quotas they are forced to do.

Following this great demonstration of strength on the part of the workers, as they returned the next day, CODEVI agreed to:

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Organized Textile Workers in Haiti Call for Taking the Streets


(Platfòm Sendikal Izin Tekstil – Batay Ouvriye / Platform of Textile Plant Unions – Workers Fight)  –

PLASIT takes notice that it’s been three years since the Supreme Wage Council was created and it has not respected Article 4.1 of the 2009 Wage Law. The Council always makes its recommendations too late every year while the executive also never publish the decisions based on the council’s recommendations at the beginning of the fiscal year in October. They usually wait eight months to adjust the minimum wage either for textile workers and laborers in other sectors. Again, it’s been five months and no recommendations have been made. Its foot-dragging and delaying tactics going on without taking into account the cost of living is rising because of the devaluation of the gourde. In addition, the government substantially increases the presidential security budget and doubles the incomes of the provisional electoral council members who are organizing sham elections pushing the country into political crisis. So, those who are destroying the country are awarded while those who are creating wealth with their blood and sweat get nothing.

In this situation, PLASIT is denouncing firmly the delaying and absentee tactics of management in the supreme wage council; the government representative presiding over the council has not taken responsibility in demanding that management send in a substitute to stop the absentee tactic leading to the failure to adjust the minimum wage in a timely manner. Here we cannot forget some union representatives in the council are in cahoots with the bosses. So, we feel trapped!

Considering the prices of basic items don’t stop rising everyday where the economic and social situation of the country has gotten worse because of the grave political crisis rocking it. This causes the popular masses, and the workers in particular to be lost. We are reminding the wage council, it was since October First the wages were adjusted as stated in the 2009 Law. This time, we are not waiting eight months again to get the wage increase. Besides, Article 137 of the Labor Code stipulates when the inflation rate increases by 10%, the minimum wage must be adjusted. Today, the inflation rate is at 12%, the council has made no recommendations to help the workers and laborers breathe.

We should say that there are union representatives who have suggested a minimum wage increase of 375 gourdes ($6.25) a day and 475 gourdes ($7.92) a day as the production wage for textile workers. As such, management proposes in a subtle way a minimum wage of 255 gourdes. In PLASIT, we think those two proposals don’t meet the needs of the workers considering the socio-economic reality today. The owner of the corpse must watch the corpse!

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Garment Workers Protest Nov/Dec 2015 in Port-au-Prince!

UPDATE:  On morning of December 9, 2015 garment workers in Port-au-Prince continue their protest against nonpayment of wages by the manufacturer. The Labor Minister came out to speak to them.

This is what an autonomous workers’ movement looks like!


Report from Haiti on November 30, 2015:

The Korean-owned garment factory gave paychecks with insufficient funds. The government promised the workers they would pay the workers themselves but they never did. This protest is going on right now in SONAPI industrial park.

The workers closed the factory by blocking the front with branches. Since this morning with posters in hand, they wanted to block the whole park but did not have the capacity for that. They are at present continuing the mobilization at the factory.





The Wage Struggle of Garment Workers in Bangladesh

Statement from Faiezul Hakim,

President of the Bangladesh Trade Union Federation

May 30, 2014

In Bangladesh, the garment workers are now very much class conscious. Especially, this has increased after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Savar, a suburb near the capital Dhaka last year, on 24th April 2013. In addition, the people of Bangladesh are also now concerned about garment workers’ conditions, like their wages, lifestyle, etc. The exception is the ruling class.

In 2013, the present Government declared wages for the garment workers through a Wage Commission. It was a farce. This commission declared the minimum basic wage for a garment worker to be 5,300 Bangladeshi Taka [BDT] (1 US dollar was equivalent to 80 BDT), where the basic wage is 3,200 BDT excluding house rent , medical allowance, transportation, education allowance, etc.

The trade unions linked with left parties demanded 8000 BDT as a total monthly wage. This is also the demand of SKOP, an organization of workers and employees. In contrast, we Bangladesh Trade Union Federation raised the demand of 18,000 BDT (where the basic wage is 10,000 BDT).

We also raised the question: on what basis did you people fix the wages? According to our calculation, one adult person needs 3200 calories per day, and according to this we can find the monthly food expenditure for a 4-member of a family in Bangladesh (especially in Dhaka) to be now around 10,000 BDT. Now we want to add house rent, transportation, medical allowance, allowance for children’s education, etc. It will be then 18,000 BDT (though house rent in the city is different from the periphery).

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