Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
03 Aug 2017

TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady has written to the manager of Interamerican Wovens (IW) to denounce the violations of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 at the company, which is within the export processing zones of Haiti. 

Dear Mr Durand

Violations of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 at Interamerican Wovens (IW) in the export
processing zones of Haiti

On behalf of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the national trade union centre for Great Britain,
and the 5.6 million members of our affiliated unions, I want to let you know that we firmly condemn
the union-busting operations and the serious violations of Haitian workers’ rights, such as the right to
freedom of association and social dialogue, currently taking place within your export processing
zone company, Interamerican Wovens (IW). I urge you to reinstate without delay the 37 workers
recently dismissed as a result of taking part in trade union actions.

As you are aware, workers’ organisations have been mobilising since May to make their voice heard
and claim their right to decent work and a decent life in the face of issues including the high cost of
living; employer refusal to negotiate agreements on better pay and working conditions; the
government’s interference in trade union affairs; the circumvention of the tripartite dialogue on the
reform of the labour law, with the imposition of flexibility and the eradication of existing rights; and
the absence of freedom of association and a culture of social dialogue.

The only response to the workers’ desperate cries and their legitimate demands has been a brutal
offensive, which has translated into violent police repression, the militarisation of the SONAPI
industrial zone, the confiscation of trade unionists’ telephones, the abuse of pregnant women, jailings
and the dismissal of large numbers of workers taking part in trade union actions to denounce these
injustices and defend their rights. In short, fierce retaliatory measures are being taken to punish
anyone daring to defend and promote decent work in Haiti.

The TUC condemns these blatant trade union rights violations and recalls that Haiti, on ratifying ILO
Conventions 87 and 98, undertook the commitment to respect and to implement these Conventions.
Likewise, your company, on joining the Better Work programme, also undertook to respect all the
fundamental ILO Conventions.

We urge your company, operating within the Haitian state and as a member of the Better Work programme, to:

  • abide by its obligations regarding freedom of association and all the legal rights and guarantees provided for under ILO Conventions 87 and 98. This includes trade union representation, social dialogue, trade union freedoms, the right of workers and their organisations to strike and hold public demonstrations, pay and working conditions, social security, and the principle of non-interference in trade union affairs and the appointment of their representatives;
  • reinstate all the workers dismissed from Interamerican Wovens since May;
  • reinstate without conditions all the executive members of the trade union at Interamerican Wovens.

The TUC stands in solidarity with the struggle of our Haitian colleagues and will support and assist their trade union organisations in all the legal actions taken at national and international level to defend their rights.

Yours sincerely

Frances O’Grady
TUC General Secretary

- Jovenel Moise, president of the Republic of Haiti
- Roosevelt Bellevue, minister of Social Affairs and Labour (MAST)
- Guy Ryder, director-general of the ILO
- Maria-Helena André, director of ACTRAV
- Carmen Moreno, director of ILO Costa Rica
- Dan Rees, director of Better Work
- Claudine François, general coordinator of Better Work Haiti
- Buyer companies
- Trade union organisations in Haiti