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#5325: Haiti Support Group Cointreau appeal (fwd)
From: Charles Arthur <email@example.com>
Keywords: Unions, workers, Cointreau, Haiti Support Group
URGENT APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE COINTREAU WORKERS' UNION IN HAITI - SENT BY
THE 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
Write to :
Dominique Hériard Dubreuil
152, avenue des Champs-Élysées,
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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