In the context of heavily armed repression in the textile industry, including the use of thugs, the police carried out workplace raids at sites where fights for jobs and against starvation wages are taking place. At the same time the bourgeois are enjoying total impunity over acts that are openly above the State and the law.
On September 30 at the Multiwear factory, belonging to Richard Coles, bosses summoned Hilaire Jean-François, member of the executive committee of the SOTA union (the 6th committee member to be removed -see below) which was recently set up in the factory informed him that he was fired! When he asked why, he was told it was due to shortage of raw materials. He challenged this and showed them a photocopy of the union’s legal registration at the Ministry of Labour (a document union members always carry) –bosses told him that was why he was fired.
The Labor Code and the Constitution forbids attacking workers because of their union affiliation. Until recently, the bosses would make excuses to cover up these attacks, but not now not only do they violate the law they do it bluntly and openly!
We in Batay Ouvriye say again: in the name of the legal rights that our class stood up for and seized, in the name of our STRUGGLE, WE’VE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT! WE’VE JUST BEGUN TO MOBILIZE! DOWN WITH ANTI-UNION REPRESSION! DOWN WITH BLOODTHIRSTY DOMINATION OF THE BOSSES AND THE STATE! FORWARD IN STRUGGLE, WE THE WORKING CLASS, WE THE LABOURERS AND PROGRESSIVES, FOR OUR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS, IN THE FACTORIES, IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, IN THE FIELDS, IN THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD!
Press Release No. 1 – Letter to be sent to the companies:
We’ve been informed of the union busting tactics that your company, a member of ADIH (Association of Industries of Haiti) have been involved in lately. Freedom of association is recognized in the Haitian constitution and the Labor code. Workers should be able to join the union of their choice. SOTA (Sendika Ouvriye Tektil ak Abiman) is legally recognized by the Ministry of Social affairs and Labor.
As one of the owners of the assembly factory where workers were harassed, intimidated or dismissed because either they are members or sympathizers of the initiative IN forming a union to defend their rights, we are calling upon you to cease those practices and comply with Haiti’s legislation regarding labour relations and the code of conduct of the companies notably the Gildan Activewear corporation. We demand the following:
The reinstatement of all OF THE SOTA executive committee members and other members and recognition OF the SOTA union as representive OF the textile factory workers;
Management and SOTA Executive committee to discuss the list of demands of the workforce of all the factories involved;
The minister of social affairs and labour to take appropriate steps to ensure the right of workers to join a union is protected;
The Gildan company requires its suppliers in Haiti to issue a statement to the workforce both verbally and in writing, stating that workers have the right to join a union and to bargain collectively with management.
All textile companies, members of ADIH, to stop blacklisting workers.
Please send your letter to the following addresses and cc to [email protected]:
Mr. Gerard APAID/GENESIS – [email protected]
Mr. Charles Henry BAKER/ONE WORLD APPAREL – [email protected]
Mr. Richard COLES/MULTIWEAR – [email protected]
ADIH – [email protected]