May 15, 2006
PAST ACTION APPEAL LA COURONNE BREWERY/COCA-COLA HAÏTI GENERAL REPRESSIVE PRACTICES TO END WITH THE WORKERS !
After several months of attempted negotiations, the
The precise reason we have reached this level is that, since the beginning of this year 2006, although the owner of this company, Mr. Raymond Jaar, promised to consider the workers’ demands and answer positively to several points they had laid down last December, at present, after several anti-union acts, Jaar has categorically cut all contact with us and even refused to meet with representatives of our union organization. Although the workers’ of this company’s Northern branch have stood up all together several times, with work stoppages and legal strikes, not only has management ignored them, but it even undertook anti-union dismissals that have antagonized all the workers.
All should know that LA COURONNE BREWERY COCA-COLA
Wages, at the Brewery, are catastrophic! The bosses profit of the workers to the maximum, making them toil at minimal cost. Even the watchmen at the gate, called warehousemen by the company, make 100 gourdes a day (US $2.50) for twelve hours of work. Overtime isn’t paid, not to mention in the way it is stipulated by the law, that is 1.5 times regular wages. The bosses steal 4 hours extra from these workers daily! For those lifting the soft drink cases, it’s even worse. They earn a “base wage” of 50 gourdes per day ($1.25!!!), which is outright ILLEGAL. The days in which the workers are unable to work, such as if the trucks are out of order or if their drivers are unable to come to work due to illness or so on… this 50 gourde salary is all they receive, so: less than the 70 gourde minimum wage! The law is however quite clear: the base wage is the wage, all other forms are incentives and should be added upon it, by no means may they count as the fixed wage! Beyond, the ‘base wage’, now, a supposed commission on sales is added. For the workers, the base wage is truly their wage the commission is in the bosses’ advantage alone. Because on each case of 24 pops sold, the workers make 3 cents of a gourde ($0.00075)!!! That is, 300 gourdes ($7.50) for each thousand cases sold. When sales are good, this thousand cases can sell over three days but in other periods, they may take a week to be sold. If we take an average of 60 gourdes added upon the daily wages, this results in a measly daily income of 110 gourdes ($2.75), especially considering the hardships the La Couronne Brewery Coca-Cola
Broken bottles… are the responsibility of the workers! If a driver is ticketed trying to deliver the merchandise in small roads, full of holes… it’s his business! Workers work on Saturdays, without being paid the Sunday! There are no holidays at La Couronne Brewery Coca-Cola
Firings are legion, without explanation. The northern branch’s main demand today is the rehiring with back pay of their fellow worker, Philome Cemerant, the union secretary, a serious worker all respected and who was fired right after the union was established at the end of 2005, under a lousy pretext: “With this letter, we confirm that you are no longer a member of the La Couronne Brewery sinc November 5th for having refused to obey to the indications, orders and instructions of the North Distribution Center’s Director”. Even the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor answered La Couronne saying:
“The Labor Administration of the Northern Regional Bureau of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor salutes you… and profits of the occasion to recommend Cemerant Philomé to your well-meaning attention… The Ministry has a role of protection and employment promotion, but especially of encouraging parties to sit around the table of negotiations in view of reconciliation. This is why we carried out an inspection visit at the La Couronne Brewery last Nov. 8th to avoid an open, serious conflict within this institution. We will agree with you that, once named, the employee may be fired. You’ll agree with us as well that erring is human since Mr. Seraphin and Mentor, representatives of the Brewery in the North, said and we’ll quote “Cemerant Philomé, who worked with the company since 4 years and 3 months, was a good employee and a sudden change took place in the past few months.’Thus the Labor Administration would like to request, if possible, that this employee be returned to his job, with excuses”.
The Philomé Cémérant case isn’t isolated. Last year, the company fired and ordered the arbitrary arrest of Gérard Petit-Frère who spent over two months in jail and was freed without ever even being judged.
Let’s recall the Port-au-Prince La Couronne Workers’ Committee’s outcry already in 2001:
“Drinking Couronne soft drinks is sweet, but they’re made through terrible exploitation, with outright illegal practices. And the bourgeois who own LA COURONNE enjoy perfect impunity. We’re asking what can workers do with 50 gourdes a day, especially when they have to work 12-hour shifts? Let’s have a look: Workers have to eat on credit. If they are to feel they’ve eaten, they should eat 3 small plates of food, so, 3 times 15 gourdes. They can’t! In the morning, they often have to take a small spaghetti place at 15 gourdes with a 5 gourde juice. If they can’t afford it, then they have a small 5 gourde patty and a juice, sometimes they’ll have a soft drink instead in the morning. Adding upon this, they spend at least 6 gourdes of transportation. Since they’re working 12 hours, they have to support, but they just forget about it. What’s left? In the conditions in which workers spend less, they’ll be left with 14 gourdes if they have a patty in the morning; they’ll be left with 4 gourdes if they have spaghetti. This is how they reproduce themselves in order to return to being exploited tomorrow morning. But that’s not all. Considering wages, there are regular days salaries and Sunday or holidays salaries. Here again, the La Couronne Brewery is ILLEGAL. It pays no heed to the law: the workers are paid all days as if they were normal days. Workers aren’t paid according to the Labor Legislation. Often major travel is needed for the work. This is particularly true when the workers are delivering soft drinks in areas outside of the
AT PRESENT, WE ARE SAYING: LA COURONNE BREWERY COCA-COLA
We claim Philomé Cémérant’s return to work without delay, with all the backpay the company owes him. We demand too a wages adjustment for the Brewery’s workers, correct respect and proper work conditions for all the workers, especially respect of union rights.
And we’re informing that we see clearly through the complicity of Coca-Cola International in this situation. They are the ones who have persecuted union leaders in
Comrade Workers, Progressives The Peoples’ Camp In General!
This call is for us to say that Raymond JAAR’s abuses, as well as those of the Coca-Cola Company in
Brasserie de La Couronne, S.A.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Haïti
Phones : (509) 250-4264 / 250-7215 / 250-7225
Fax : (509) 250-0212E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Here is an example of a letter we can send to him just copy it and paste in an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Mr. Raymond JAAR
CEO Brasserie de La Couronne S.A.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Haïti
I’ve been informed of your company’s major abuses against workers’ rights, particularly the illegal 50 gourd/day salary and anti-union abuses. You should know, Mr. Jaar, that this type of illegal practices go against the essential human rights of all individuals, and that they will not be able to continue in
With the hope you will adopt these measures in the spirit of social advancement within