[From Batay Ouvriye and the Haiti Support Group (UK)]

FLASH NEWS RELEASE ! - Batay Ouvriye, 15 December 2005
Collective Bargaining Contract Signed at the Ouanaminthe CODEVI Free Trade
Zone

Batay Ouvriye is pleased to inform the public in general, all those who have
been following the situation at the Ouanaminthe Free Trade Zone, and
particularly those involved in the workers' struggle there, that, after several months
of negotiations, a final agreement was signed during the afternoon of Tuesday,
December 13th, between management at the Codevi Free Trade Zone (Grupo M) and
the SOCOWA workers' union, affiliated with the May First Batay Ouvriye Union
Federation.

The base salary of 432 gourdes weekly (US$10.16 or US$1.45 daily) is to be
adjusted to 900 gourdes (US$21.17 or US$3.03 daily) with, additionally, an
agreement to raise salaries by 45% over a period of three years (20% first, then
15% and 10%), all this taking into account rates of inflation and currency
devaluation as specifically stipulated in the national labor legislation's Article
137.

Although the question of wages was the crux of the negotiations, many other
issues relating to union recognition; labor rights; working conditions; health,
hygiene and security; pregnancy and sexual harassment, were also settled.

Batay Ouvriye will be releasing more information on this important success
shortly. In the meantime, we salute once again the Codevi workers' struggles, as
well as all of those in solidarity who contributed to the resolution of this
workplace conflict.


The Haiti Support Group adds:

The Haiti Support Group has made the struggle for workers' rights at the Ouanaminthe Free Trade Zone a special focus of our work over the last two years. This great news about the collective bargaining
agreement and the wage increases follows the victory earlier this year when over 150 workers sacked for belonging to the Socowa union were reinstated and the Socowa union won full recognition from the management.

We want to thank all of you who have responded to our calls for solidarity, whether this consisted of sending emails to the main contractor, Levi Strauss & Co., demonstrating outside the Levi's store in Regent Street, London, or contributing to our Socowa solidarity fund.

We want to send special thanks and recognition to the Battersea and Wandsworth trade union council for the important financial support it has provided to Socowa; to the No Sweat organisation for raising donations to support Batay Ouvriye; and to the LabourStart campaigning web site for the many thousands of emails sent in response to Socowa's appeals for international solidarity.

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Forwarded as a service of the Haiti Support Group - solidarity with the Haitian people's struggle for human rights, participatory democracy and equitable development - since 1992.

Web site:  http://www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org