Monday, February 10, 2014

Haiti: Battle for $11 – a day – minimum wage

By the hundreds and thousands, Haitian workers marched and protested from Dec. 9 to Dec. 12, demanding that the Supreme Council on Wages (CSS) raise the minimum wage to 500 gourdes a day, which is about $11.

Big protests took place in Port-au-Prince and smaller ones in Ouanaminthe, a processing center on the border with the Dominican Republic, and Caracol, a new south-Korean owned industrial park in northeast Haiti. These are the major textile centers in Haiti.

The current minimum wage for a day’s work ranges from $1.55 to $4.45 in factories. The CSS decided to raise the top minimum wage for a day’s work to 225 gourdes, around $5.

Radio Kiskeya posted a video on YouTube on Dec. 10 showing thousands of workers — many of them women — marching and dancing through the streets of Port-au-Prince, waving green branches and demanding 500 gourdes. One of the leaders of the protest, who said he was on the executive committee of one of the unions involved in the march, told Kiskeya that he couldn’t feed himself and his family three meals a day on 225 gourdes.He would need at least 500.

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