PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 3 2013 (IPS) - Haiti’s minimum wage will nudge up 12 percent on Jan. 1, from 4.65 to 5.23 dollars (or 200 to 225 gourdes) per day. Calculated hourly, it will go from 58 to 65 cents, before taxes.
But the raise will not affect Haiti’s 30,000 assembly factory workers, who are supposed to already be receiving about seven dollars for an eight-hour day – about 87 cents per hour. Recent studies have found rampant wage theft at almost two dozen of the factories that stitch clothing for companies like Gap and Walmart.
The wage hike comes almost five years after the Haitian parliament asked for a 200-gourde minimum wage, then worth 4.96 dollars a day, but failed to overcome Washington-backed industry opposition [see sidebar].
Agreed to on Nov. 29 by a government-convened Council on Salaries (CSS) – made up of labour, business and government representatives – the raise falls far short of the minimum wage of 11.63 dollars (500 gourdes) that factory worker unions and others were demanding.
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