Haiti: 5 members of SOTA executive committee dismissed
As we informed you of the founding of a new labor organization by the name of SOTA (Sendika Ouvriye Takstil ak Abiman) to defend the rights of the textile workers in Haiti two weeks ago, 5 members of the executive committee were dismissed and were told to go to the Regional Bureau of Social affairs and Labor to receive their severance pay.
We are not surprised by this reaction as we know already that most of the factory owners or managers are union busters in their nature. They used all kind of false reasons or intimidation tactics to accomplish their goals so the workers cannot use their right to organize for the defense of their interest.
At the One World Apparel factory owned by the former presidential candidate Mr. Baker, the secretary of SOTA was fired because he was distributing a leaflet outside informing the workers about the existence of SOTA and inviting workers to join.
At Genesis factory owned by Gerald Apaid, the treasurer who was sick went to ask for permission to go home, the human resources person refused and give him an ultimatum of either staying until 5:30 p.m. or return his badge.
The next working day, after three members of the committee accompanied with a member of ESPM-BO went to discuss the case with the Human Resources person by the name of Mrs Garcon in the morning, they were fired at the end of the day. They were threatened, sequestrated, their bags were searched and papers taken and management called a policeman to intimidate them and menacing them. It’s after that a member of ESPM BO called Mrs. Garcon to tell her that what was happening was completely unlawful and we will inform Better Work and the contracting company Gildanwear about the situation, the three SOTA members were able to leave the plant and were told that they were fired and they should go the MAST for their severance pay.
We are calling upon you to act against those union busting tactics on the part of managements of both companies. Send a powerful statement to Mr. Apaid an Mr. Baker about our following demands:
· The reinstatement of all 5 workers and recognize the SOTA union as representing the textile factory workers;
· Management and SOTA Executive committee to discuss the list of demands of the workforce in both factories;
· The minister of social affairs and labor to take appropriate steps to ensure that the right of workers to join a union is protected;
· The Gildanwear 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 union and to bargain collectively with management.
· Both companies to stop blacklisting workers.