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Protest planned on Haitian Labor Day to increase minimum wage

Textile workers
Textile workers protesting for better pay in Port-au-Prince in February 2022. / Photo credit: Pensa Latina

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Two unions representing factory workers and security guards plan to hold a two-day protest on May 1, Haiti’s Agricultural and Labor Day in Haiti, and May 2 to demand a minimum wage increase.

“May 1 in Haiti is not a commemoration for Labor Day, but of unemployment,” said Jean Wilgens Charles, head of Esklav Revolte or Rebelious Slave. “We call out on all citizens to protest against the high cost of living, hunger, misery and insecurity.”

During a news conference Apr. 21 at the offices of ESPM-BO workers rights group, organizers said the protest will start at 9:00 a.m. at the National Society of Industrial Park (SONAPI) and march via Airport Road to the National Old Age Insurance Office (ONA). 

Demonstrators will also go to the prime minister’s office through Delmas 48 to chide him for not keeping his promises to provide social assistance and debit cards to workers.

In February, thousands of workers took to the streets to demand a minimum wage of 1,500 Gourdes, about USD $13, a day. They said the increase is necessary to cope with inflation and afford basic necessities that have become so expensive since fuel prices increased. 

The Haitian government increased the minimum wage to 685 Gourdes, about $6, for subcontractors, but the unions insist on the higher amount.

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