Dominican Company to Leave Haiti

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Dominican Company to Leave Haiti

Post by admin » Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:01 am

Dominican Company to Leave Haiti
June 10, 2004 8:07pm

AP Online

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic_A Dominican factory that makes Levi's jeans in a Haitian free-trade zone plans to close its doors and lay off 700 Haitian employees because of labor disputes, company officials said Wednesday.

Grupo M, one of the Dominican Republic's largest free-trade zone companies, built the $10 million factory a year ago in the border town of Ouanaminthe, Haiti.

The decision is a blow to Haiti, the Americas' poorest country, where most people are jobless and the political situation has become more fragile since the February rebellion that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"This has been a very difficult decision, and we've done everything to avoid it," Grupo M spokeswoman Rosa Taveras said. "The majority of people want to keep working but it's a radical group that pushed us to this point."

Workers at the factory, who make about 750 Haitian Gourds $18 a week and have no health benefits, have been pushing for higher wages and a medical plan over the last two months.

About 100 workers went on strike Monday and stopped workers from crossing a picket line, Grupo M said. Though production resumed Tuesday, the company said it needed to make a change.

The decision was made "for security reasons in the face of threats and violent actions by a group of activists called Batay Ouvriye," Grupo M President Fernando Capellan said.

Representatives of Batay Ouvriye could not be reached for comment.

Free-trade zones in the two countries are areas where companies can manufacture goods without having to pay import taxes on raw materials or export taxes on the final product.

Companies operating in free-trade zones are a leading employer in the Dominican Republic, with 530 of them employing 170,833 people in 2002, officials said.

Despite the proximity to Haiti, only a few companies have set up shop across the border.

Charles Arthur
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Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:35 am

Grupo M denies plans to close CODEVI FZ

Post by Charles Arthur » Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:16 am

The July 13 Dominican newspaper El Diario Libre included the following article in which Grupo M denies rumours of a closure of Codevi due to security concerns.

SANTO DOMINGO.- El Grupo M negó este jueves que la factoría de su propiedad, que fabrica los pantalones Levi's en una zona franca haitiana, planee cerrar sus puertas y despedir a 700 empleados haitianos. En una comunicación firmada por director administrativo del Grupo M, Limbert Cruz, señala que la información es completamente falsa y fuera de lugar, y agrega que en ningún momento el señor Fernando Capellán ha tenido contacto con Diario Libre ni ningún otro medio de comunicación al respecto.
El Grupo M invitó a Diario Libre a visitar en los próximos días a Quanaminthe, donde funciona la zona franca, para que contacten sus instalaciones la cual tiene una capacidad de 2,000 empleados directos. Según la comunicación del Grupo M, “las proyecciones contempladas para Codevi alcanzan oportunidad de empleos a 10,000 puestos de trabajo, con la instalación a corto plazo de nuevas naves industriales.”-

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.

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