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8993: Haiti Support Group calls on Remy Cointreau to intervene (fwd)
Press release: The Haiti Support Group calls on Rémy Cointreau to intervene
in long-running Haitian labour dispute - 4 September 2001.
With the announcement of Rémy Cointreau's first quarter revenues of EUR 213.2
million (US$ 192 million/£134 million), up 30% from a year earlier, the Haiti
Support Group renews its call for the French drinks giant to help resolve the
dispute at an orange plantation in northern Haiti.
For almost a year now, the Haitian company Guacimal SA, in which Rémy
Cointreau owns a minority share, has been refusing to recognise or negotiate
with the legally registered trade union of 300 workers at its St Raphaël
plantation. The union went on strike at the end of last year but workers were
forced back to work by the local Lavalas Family mayor.
Then, in May, union members, together with local peasant farmers, occupied
the plantation to protest against the violent conduct of the company's
foremen. They also hoped that such drastic action would force Guacimal to
negotiate a settlement regarding the union's claim for improved pay and
Now, on the eve of the new orange growing season, and as Haitian families
struggle to find the money to pay fees at the start of the school year, the
Haiti Support Group calls on Rémy Cointreau to intervene.
* Rémy Cointreau depends on the Haitian workers to produce the oranges from
which it manufactures its famous Cointreau liqueur.
* Rémy Cointreau claims it is concerned that Guacimal's St Raphaël workers
are properly remunerated, and enjoy conditions and benefits as stipulated by
Haitian labour legislation.
* Yet, Rémy Cointreau has not used the considerable influence it has with
Guacimal's management to induce it to negotiate with the legitimate workers'
In October 2000, the Syndicat des Ouvriers de Guacimal St Raphaël proposed a
wage increase so that the orange pickers and packers would earn 20 gourdes
(80 US cents/55 pence) per box of oranges - workers can fill up to seven or
eight boxes per day if there are sufficient oranges on the trees. The union
also asked for the company to provide workers with gloves and boots, and hats
to prevent wasp stings, to ensure an eight-hour working day with a one hour
rest period, to pay overtime and sick-pay according to the law, to construct
and stock a first-aid centre, and to contribute to health and pension
national insurance schemes.
With the news that Rémy Cointreau recorded a net profit of EUR94 million (US$
84.6 million/£59 million) in the twelve months to 31 March 2001, the Haiti
Support Group suggests it is surely cannot be a question of lack of funds
that prevents a settlement in accordance with these very basic and eminently
* * * * *
For details of how to write to Rémy Cointreau and ask it to put pressure on
Guacimal, see the Haiti Support Group web site:
For more details about Haiti's new independent unions, see the Batay Ouvriye
This email is forwarded to you as a service of the Haiti Support Group.
SEE THE HAITI SUPPORT GROUP WEB SITE: <A
The Haiti Support Group - solidarity with the Haitian people's struggle for
justice, participatory democracy and equitable development, since 1992.