Erklärung der haitianischen Textilgewerkschaft zum Kampf um die Erhöhung des Mindestlohns

Polizei gegen streikende Textilarbeiter in Haiti - auf Weisung der US Botschaft?Monatelang haben die Belegschaften der Textilunternehmen in verschiedenen Sonderwirtschaftszonen Haitis für eine Erhöhung des Mindestlohns gekämpft und dabei Entlassungsterror, Polizeigewalt und Medienhetze widerstanden – sowie einer Regierungspolitik, die sich offen, eindeutig und bewusst gegen die ArbeiterInnen stellte und weiterhin stellt. Die Tatsache, dass es etwa sogenannte Gewerkschaftsvertreter in dem nationalen Gremium gibt, das den Mindestlohn regelt, die einer Erhöhung in Höhe eines schlechten Witzes zustimmten, brachte zwei Folgen zutage: Zum einen war es eine Vorlage für die Propaganda der Regierung, die ganze Bewegung sei das Werk radikaler Kräfte (die „vernünftigen Gewerkschafter“ – die selbst wohl etwas mehr als den Mindestlohn beziehen – hätten ja der vorgeschlagenen offiziellen Erhöhung zugestimmt), zum zweiten wird dadurch aber auch eine tiefe Spaltungslinie in der haitianischen Gewerkschaftsbewegung (einmal mehr) deutlich. Die Erklärung „In our viewpoint, this is not “create jobs.” This is disguised unemployment“ der Gewerkschaft SOTA-BO vom 03. August 2017, die nunmehr in englischer Übersetzung vorliegt und die wir mir hiermit dokumentieren (Die Überschrift ist von LabourNet Germany), unterstreicht die massive Repression, stellt fest, dass selbst der geforderte Mindestlohn von 800 Gourdes nicht wirklich zum Leben reiche – und fordert die Ersetzung der Gewerkschaftsvertreter im Lohnrat. Mit der Erklärung soll die Debatte um die Fortsetzung des Kampfes nach seinem aktuellen faktischen – vorübergehenden – Ende begonnen werden.

„In our viewpoint, this is not “create jobs.” This is disguised unemployment“

(03. August 2017)

TEXTILE AND APPAREL WORKERS UNION (SOTA-BO)

Comrades,

Since May First, we launched a mobilization to demand that the state set the minimum salary at 800 Gourdes (US $12.50). Now, after the draconian recommendation of the contested CSS, president Jovenel Moise adjusted the minimum salary at 350 Gourdes (US $5.47). On Monday July 31, we planned a march against the 350 Gourdes because we demanded 800 Gourdes at the least. However, our worker comrades did not come out to tell Jovenel they rejected the 350 Gourdes. This salary will not satisfy our needs. As it is, neither 335 Gourdes (US $5.23), 350 Gourdes, nor 800 Gourdes match up to what we need to take care of our families.. Neither Jovenel nor the capitalists can live on such a salary. How is it that they want us, workers, who contribute so much in creating wealth agree to take in such low salary? What happened on Monday July 31? What did we see?

  1. A large contingent of policemen occupying the park with the complicity of the factory owners to stop us from taking to the streets. In front of many factories, police cars stay put to intimidate workers who wanted to come out and had trucks of skin-irritant water cannon and other vehicles full of special police units such as BIM with heavy weapons ready to kill.
  2. Some factory owners made offers to factory workers with a salary of 400 or 500 Gourdes a day and a 20% reduction in production quotas and other benefits such as food subsidies, Saturdays off and lottery to win a motorcycle to derail the workers so they keep working and not leave. Some other factory owners threatened workers with massive firings if the walk out for the protests.
  3. There is also the stress on workers emerging from the fast approaching school opening in September; they feel they have to work to save some money for their kids to return to school.
  4. There is also a level of movement fatigue in some workers. 3 months of struggle in the streets wasn’t easy for them. They didn’t get paid for the days they were out in the streets. The capitalists refuse to pay them because they say salary adjustment is not their job. The state has to do that. The struggle to adjust the minimum salary is a very important demand for the workers. It’s a union activity; if they inform MAST and the factory owners, participants in such activities should normally be paid their salaries.

We denounce the use of police to intimidate workers. To participate in Union activities is a right for all workers to defend the economic and social interests. As for the factory owners who offered to pay 400/500 Gourdes today, they should continue to give it. 350 Gourdes today is the least they can give. Therefore, they began to give 400/500 Gourdes, they should continue to give it. This is a win for all workers who got it and they should continue to get it. LET THEIR HOAX BLOW UP IN THEIR FACES! LET’S ORGANIZE IN THE FACTORIES SO THE CAPITALISTS PAY US A LIVABLE WAGE. IN ADDITION, SALARY ADJUSTMENTS INDEXED TO INFLATION ACCORDING TO THE LAW. WHERE IS JOVENEL, WHERE IS THE POLICE TO MAKE THE CAPITALISTS OBEY THE LAW?

We want to raise 2 points on the executive order published.  One, the workers lost almost a year as a result of the long delay on the part of the state in setting the minimum salary. According to the law, the minimum salary should have been adjusted since the month of October 2016. The new salary of 350 Gourdes begins on August First 2017; this represents a loss for all workers in the country. The government does not take that into account. Many workers thought that the salary of 350 Gourdes would be retroactive from May 2017 to help them make up for the 5 months in the fiscal year 2016-2017. The question now is what is being done for the fiscal year 2017-2018 with the rising inflation rate? Secondly, there is no mention of the production wage in the executive order. The 2009 Law on the minimum salary included it in articles 2, 2.1, 2.2. Therefore, the executive order violates current law. Is it why the executive order never mentioned anywhere the 2009 law? Can an executive order remove a gain already embedded in a law? SALARY ADJUSTMENT SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED INDEXED TO RISING INFLATION ACCORDING TO THE LAW. THE GOVERNMENT VIA THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND LABOR SHOULD SEE TO IT THAT THE CAPITALISTS OBEY THE LAW.

True, the Monday mobilization did not materialize. However, we must send kudos to the unionized and non-unionized workers for their participation in the past 3 months of STRUGGLE. We salute the determination and engagement of more than 25,000 workers who participated in the mobilizations. We managed to bring more workers on the streets in 2017 than in 2009 when we got a raise of 200 Gourdes back then. The current mobilizations took place thanks to the sacrifices of workers, mothers and fathers on all these days. That is why we cannot allow today’s loss to cloud out the GREAT FIGHT we just put up. We earned some points in the struggle. Among them, we fought for 800 Gourdes on an independent basis under the direction of our own combative unions that defended our interests as exploited workers under great pressure and threats. We had the support and solidarity of many people and organizations nationally and internationally. Many progressive and popular organizations were side by side with us on the streets. We were able to force a public debate on our miserly salary, bad working conditions, and the bankruptcy of the social security system such as ONA and OFATMA for many months.

Even though our living conditions and our current level of social awareness today tend to derail us or slow us down in the struggle resulting in the fact that the weeklong mobilization we planned could not materialize, we proved that we can fight, we have what it takes to move forward in our struggle to change our living conditions. That is why we must work to consolidate our gains, solidify our unions that allowed us to launch the mobilizations for the minimum salary of 800 Gourdes. As many of you stated, it’s our union struggle that helped us win the 350 Gourdes because the capitalists did not want to adjust the salary at all. It’s true, 350 Gourdes is not enough; however, we got it as a result of our STRUGGLE.

We have many other immediate demands to fight for such as negotiations on the wage of tariff production, reinstatement of fired workers and unionists because of their participation in the mobilizations, removal of the 2 fake representatives in the Supreme Salary Council (CSS), implementation of the social benefits with a commission to handle this question as it should, stop parliament from voting this rotten law of 3/8, relaunch tripartite negotiations on the labor code, etc. Come to the meetings so we can draw our battle plans for the days ahead and in the future. IT’S ONLY FIGHTING ON AN ORGANIZED FASHION IN OUR INDEPENDENT UNIONS WE WILL REACH THE DEPTH OF LIFE. LET’S CONSOLIDATE OUR UNIONS. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES WITH MORE VIGOR!