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Nov. 9, 2005

Already in 2001, Batay Ouvriye had published a document showing how the “long ‘big-eater’ La Couronne drinks are sweet, they’re big, but working at La Couronne brewery isn’t sweet!!!”. The workers of this industry, owned by Raymond Jaar, indicated the wrong wages, hellish work conditions, intransigent owners, firings, absence of employment security and anti-union repression. We concluded by saying that “drinking ‘big-eaters’ is good and sweet…, but making them is hell”!

Today, once again, we’re raising our voice to denounce the despotic and illegal actions of La Couronne brewery. Presently it is in the North that these actions are occurring. Indeed, it is after many efforts and suffering that the workers of La Couronne Brewery managed to establish their union, affiliated to the May First Batay Ouvriye Union Federation (ESPMBO) in the month of August 2005. After addressing their legal recognition affidavit from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor to the management, a first meeting was held in which the workers presented their demands such as wage adjustment and overtime that hadn’t been paid to them in over 8 months. An agreement was reached on several points.

However, since then, two months later: nothing has been done. Not only hasn’t management respected any of the agreed upon points, but on top of this, there is the aggravating case of the driver Gérard Petit-Frère who was accused by the company, without any proof, of missing funds in the truck’s cashbox, whereas the car was in the factory’s premises and the cashbox locked with only management having its key. The driver was squared off to jail for several months, closed in a cell without judgment; when finally he was freed, management refused to reemploy him with payment for the time he was submitted to such injustice.

All of these exactions cause the workers now to say: that’s enough! And to hold work stoppages to show their disagreement with the situation that keeps going downhill. Then, the regional directors, particularly Jerome Seraphin and Jean Gary Mentor, singled out the union’s treasurer, Semeran Philome, and fired him. At present, it is all of the company’s workers who are fed up with this kind of brutal abuses La Couronne Brewery is carrying out. All of them gathered together to stop work and demand the intervention of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. But even though the Northern director, Mr. Cadet, indeed convoked both parties to hear them out and concluded that the firing was illegal, he didn’t invoke all the numerous articles of law that the Brewery is ignoring and that constitute the workers’ right.

Batay Ouvriye is mobilized with the La Couronne Brewery – North Union to demand a complete change in this company that doesn’t respect the workers, nor even the country’s laws. All of the points of agreement attained should be respected, Gérard Petit-Frère should find justice for his illegal imprisonment and the union’s treasurer should return to work. Both should be compensated for the time they couldn’t work because of the company’s arbitrary practices.