Haiti raises minimum wage but disgruntled unions announce more protests

The Government of Haiti announced on Monday a rise in the minimum wage after a series of protests organized by the workers of the textile factories, but after knowing the value of the rise, the unions called for new demonstrations.

The salary of workers in the textile industries went from 500 to 685 gourdes (from 5 to 6.85 dollars) per working day; an insufficient figure for the unions, which demanded a minimum wage of 1,500 gourdes (about 15 dollars).

The minimum wage in other sectors was also readjusted, with a range that oscillates between 350 gourdes (3.5 dollars) per day, which will be received by domestic employees; up to 770 gourdes ($7.70), for supermarket workers, teachers and service sector employees.

In response to the Government’s announcement, trade unionist Pierre Télémaque, one of the representatives of the workers of the SONEPI textile plants, the main industrial park in Port-au-Prince, announced on Monday the organization of three days of protest throughout the week. .

In recent weeks, SONEPI workers have demonstrated on several occasions to demand a salary increase of 1,500 gourdes.

Demonstrations have sometimes brought together thousands of people and have generally been repressed by police with tear gas and live ammunition.

The salary of 500 gourdes per day, which was in force until this Sunday, was enough to pay for two plates of food in a popular dining room.

The workers claimed that inflation, which accumulates an increase of about 24% year-on-year, has undermined their purchasing power.

Haiti is going through a deep economic crisis, combined with strong political instability that worsened with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July of last year.

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Some 4.9 million people, 43% of the country’s population, require humanitarian aid, according to estimates by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The country has chained three consecutive years of recession and many economic activities have been affected by the violence of armed gangs, constant protests and political instability.

Natural disasters, such as the earthquake that caused great destruction throughout the south of the country last August, have contributed to worsening the economic situation of the population.

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