Scandal on Haiti Minimum Wage

by Marty Goodman

Some news on proposals for a minimum wage increase in Haiti. Rene Preval is elected President of Haiti. Preval was second in command to Jean-Bertrand Aristide before his exile at the hands of U.S. backed thugs. Below is part of an email I just received from a Haitian activist friend:

President Rene Preval, seems to have preempted the bill proposed by the Petionville representative Steven Benoit from the president’s own Hope coalition, which envisioned boosting the minimum wage from its current level at 70 gourdes ($2.02 per day) to 200 gourdes ($5.40). Toward the end of January, the tripartite or three-way commission appointed by the president (trade-union, business and government) issued its own recommendation on a minimum wage increase of no more than 5 to 10%.

At a time when the prime-minister, Jacques-Edouard Alexis, is summoned by the Senate and found wanting in terms of what his government is doing or intends to do about the escalating cost of living, an increase in the minimum wage of 10 to 15 cents per day is the best that the Haitian ruling class, and apparently the Preval government, are willing to concede to the Haitian working class. This comes on top of Preval’s recent announcement that there is nothing he can do about the high cost of living since he’s not in the business of doing miracles. This couldn’t be more scandalous – and more a propos for our committee!