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Agreement between managers and workers at the Ouanaminthe free trade zone

Port-au-Prince, 8 February 2005

An agreement between the Compagnie de Dévéloppement Industriel (CODEVI) and the SOKOWA workers' union has brought an end to an eight month long labour dispute at the Ouanaminthe free trade zone (FTZ) in the north-east.

According to the document seen by Alterpresse, the main points of the agreement between the company and the FTZ union concern the re-hiring of the workers dismissed last June, recognition of union rights, the creation of a joint management-worker commission and a solidarity fund, and the establishment of collective labour convention.

CODEVI has accepted the immediate re-instatement (before 12 February) of Borgella Telor, Gérard Jean Charles, Dieudonné Paul, Willy Jean and Georges Maces, five union leaders sacked during the June 2004 conflict. The document states that these workers will receive back-pay for the period since their dismissal and will not lose the benefits of their seniority.

The agreement stipulates that over 150 other dismissed workers will be progressively re-hired. A support and solidarity fund for dismissed workers awaiting re-hiring will be created and funded by a variety of sources to be contacted by the two parties.

In the framework of the agreement, CODEVI recognises SOKOWA and guarantees all its members full union rights. The company agrees not to use armed force in labour disputes and to respect the human rights of all workers. The union and the company agreed to establish a permanent dialogue in the form of a joint commission composed of three representatives of each party.

The agreement between CODEVI and SOKOWA also proposes the drafting, discussion and signature within six months of a collective convention establishing workers' rights and conditions. The negotiations, that concluded in the agreement on 5 February, were lead by two mediators - a Haitian and a Dominican lawyer - who were assisted by numerous Haitians and Dominicans, including a representative of the Haitian human rights sector . .


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