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#5325: Haiti Support Group Cointreau appeal (fwd)

From: Charles Arthur <charlesarthur@hotmail.com>

Keywords: Unions, workers, Cointreau, Haiti Support Group


Check out the Cointreau web site, and read how the subtle harmony of bitter 
and sweet oranges makes every sip of Cointreau an extraordinary, 
multi-sensory taste journey.  Read how they grow bitter oranges in the 
Caribbean, how the peel is separated from the pulp by hand, dried in the 
sun, and then shipped to the Cointreau distillery in Angers, France. Once 
distilled, the liquid is blended with water and alcohol using a secret 
recipe - unchanged for almost 150 years.

What the web site won't tell you is that the workers in Haiti who so 
carefully separate the peel from the pulp must endure pay and conditions 
that are also unchanged in almost 150 years.

At the Cointreau plant in the north of Haiti, men and women labour all day 
to make the minimum wage of 36 gourdes - a pitiful amount that represents 
just $1.25! The factory is in a squalid condition - toilets and showers are 
disgusting. Working without gloves or protective clothing, the workers are 
soaked in the orange spray and inhale the citric acid vapor - fingernails 
are corroded away, and lung complications are common.

In the financial year 1999-2000, the parent company, Rémy Cointreau recorded 
a net operating profit of 55 million Euros (US$61 million), a 163% increase 
compared with the previous year. The Company employs around 3,700 people 
worldwide. Each year, some 13 million bottles of Cointreau are sold. The 
chairperson of Rémy Cointreau, Dominique Hériard Dubreuil, is ranked 5th in 
the Fortune list of the 50 most powerful women in business in the world.

At the Cointreau plant in Haiti, the workers have formed a union to press 
for basic rights, such as respect for the law in relation to the Labour 
Code, negotiations regarding a wage increase, and recognition of the union 
and the principle of collective bargaining. But Cointreau's Haitian managers 
are refusing to even enter negotiations with the union.

Following the success of the 1999-2000 solidarity action on behalf of 
workers at the Grand Marnier plantation near Cap-Haitien in which Batay 
Ouvriye (Workers' Struggle) enlisted the support of the British solidarity 
organisation, the Haiti Support Group, and the French, Reseau-Solidarité 
(Solidarity Network), a similar mobilisation is now planned.

Please respond to the Haitian Union of Cointreau Workers' appeal for help by 
writing to Dominique Hériard Dubreuil, chairperson of Rémy Cointreau, and 
ask her to authorise her managers in Haiti to open negotiations with the 

Please note that the Cointreau workers' Union is not mentioning the threat 
of a consumer boycott of Rémy Cointreau products. Therefore, please do not 
mention this in your letter. Just ask Rémy Cointreau to instruct its 
managers to recognise the Union's right to begin negotiations, and express 
your hope that meaningful negotiations regarding the Unions' demands will 
start immediately.

Write to :
Dominique Hériard Dubreuil
Rémy Cointreau
152, avenue des Champs-Élysées,
75008 Paris


This email is forwarded to you as a service of the Haiti Support Group: 

The Haiti Support Group - - solidarity with the Haitian people's struggle 
for justice, participatory democracy and equitable development, since 1992.

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