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a685L Cointreau/Haiti - action alert (fwd)

From: Tttnhm@aol.com

February 2002

Action Alert issued by the Haiti Support Group

One more effort to get Rémy Cointreau to respect union rights in Haiti

The workers' unions at the Guacimal company in northern Haiti have been
trying for over one year to negotiate a reasonable agreement on improved pay
and conditions. But the Guacimal management has refused to agree a
settlement, and instead has either made derisory offers or sent hired thugs
and police to harass union leaders.

Rémy Cointreau, one of the richest and most powerful drinks companies in the
world, holds a minor but significant share in the Guacimal company, but it
refuses to take responsibility for the denial of Haitian workers' legitimate

At a meeting in Paris in November 2001, Olivier Charriaud, Cointreau's
international director, promised a representative of the Haitian unions that
his company would intervene to resolve the dispute. Two months later, nothing
has changed.

Please send the model letter (or your own version if you prefer) to Rémy
Cointreau in Paris or New York. You can cut and paste the text onto your
letter or onto an email. We have found that while an email is quicker and
cheaper, a letter is more likely to be taken seriously and elicit a response.

Remember to add your name and address.
Model letter

Olivier Charriaud
Rémy Cointreau
152 avenue des Champs-Élysées
75008 PARIS

or Olivier Charriaud
c/o Rémy Amerique
1350 Sixth Ave.
New York
NY  10019


Email: olivier.charriaud@remy-cointreau.com

Dear Mr Charriaud,

I am writing to implore your company to act immediately to ensure the rights
of the legitimate trade unions at the two Guacimal SA workplaces in Haiti.

I know that Rémy Cointreau is only a minority share-holder in Guacimal, but I
also know that Rémy Cointreau has publicly stated its intention to have local
laws and customs respected wherever it conducts its business. However, as you
are aware, in Haiti the Guacimal management has refused to enter into
meaningful agreements with the legally registered workers' unions, and worse
still, there have been numerous reports of representatives of the Guacimal
management violently threatening and attacking union members.

I understand that the dispute has now been continuing for over one year -
this is far too long! As you know, the orange harvesting season lasts only a
few months, and it is a particular source of concern that it appears as
though the Guacimal management hopes to again avoid a negotiated settlement
during the current season. This would mean that the orange workers' unions
would have to wait until the end of this year to be in a position to once
more press for improved pay and conditions.

I know that you have recently spoken with the Guacimal management and with a
representative of the Batay Ouvriye union federation from northern Haiti, and
that therefore you are fully aware of the situation. Consequently, I
respectfully request that Rémy Cointreau immediately instructs its Haitian
partner to respect Haitian labour legislation, and to see to it that a fair
and reasonable resolution to this damaging dispute is concluded as soon as
possible. If this does not happen I will be forced to conclude that, contrary
to its public statements, Rémy Cointreau is content to see
internationally-recognised workers' rights trampled into the ground in the
interests of guaranteeing its massive profits.

I await your reply at your earliest possible convenience,

Yours sincerely,




This email is forwarded 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.