Haiti: Mobilization working for minimum wage

Caught on alterpresse.org

arton8600Port au Prince, 4 August 2009 – Hundreds of workers took part in this 4 August to a demonstration in front of the parliament, in favor of the minimum wage law at 200 gourdes, when a sitting was scheduled in the Chamber of Deputies, to discuss the objection made by President René Préval to the promulgation of this law.

Leaves of the Industrial Park (North of the capital), the demonstrators traveled several kilometers to be able to express their grievances to parliamentarians.

Massed behind the roadblock erected by officers from the Intervention and Law Enforcement Corps (Top), the workers rejected the position of the employers and of President René Préval who consider the 200 gourds as a potential handicap to job creation.

For them, the arguments put forward by the bosses, and supported by the president of the republic, are only pressures to fail the vote long awaited by their sector. "They need us ... if they say factories will close their doors, that's wrong", they argue.

The 16 July, René Préval sent a second letter to parliament in which he calls for dialogue : "The question of the minimum wage requires deep reflection. It can only be part of a more responsible questioning on the creation of wealth, its more equitable distribution and, mostly, opening up the labor market to young people who represent more than half of our population ", pleads this correspondence.

However for the workers this indicates an obvious sympathy of the head of state towards "the bourgeoisie".

“It is sad to see that today, the president of the republic chooses to defend the interests of the bourgeoisie, rather than ours. », lamented a protester.

" The 70 gourds do not allow us to live decently. Our salary does not allow us to eat. If we are sick, we can't go to the hospital, they explain. We work from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Many of us are being dismissed without notice ".

Highlighting the discrepancies between their wages and the profits of the bosses of the subcontracting factories, the workers expressed their determination to continue the movement in favor of 200 gourdes.

The demonstration of the subcontracting workers did not end without incident, however.. Students, which led for several weeks the first mobilizations for the 200 gourdes, tried to undo the security barrier set up by the police. The latter used tear gas and stones were thrown at the police.

A reporter from the Telemax television station, Dario Louis, was injured in the face, and evacuated by the Red Cross.

Flags adorning Place d'Italie were subsequently torn from their poles, and trampled. "These are the flags of the occupation", accuse the students.

Following these incidents, the workers have dispersed.

Recall that Haiti is the poorest country in America, and that the unemployment rate is close to 50%.

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