Solidarity Newspaper

Solidarity with the workers and people of Haiti , 25 Jan, 2010

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In fact a Batay Ouvriye representative, Yannick Etienne, also visited the UK on a No Sweat speaker tour in 2004. (There is a No Sweat speaker benefit for Haitian workers' organisations on 10 February: see here and Facebook event here.)

We hope to work with Liverpool TUC on this.

Liverpool TUC motion

Labour movement solidarity to the Haitian Labour movement

A tragedy has deeply affected Haiti. The epicentre of the worst earthquake in Haitian history was near the capital of the country, destroying two thirds of Port-au-Prince. The situation is dramatic, three million homeless, over 100,000 dead, hundreds of thousands injured and dead bodies everywhere. The entire population is sleeping in the streets and waiting for replies to their pleas and more blows… We cannot remain indifferent to the Haitian situation. The Black people of the poorest country in the continent is facing a brutal tragedy. But you cannot attribute the death and destruction only to the size of the earthquake. A severe natural disaster has befallen a country devastated by capitalism. The earthquake would not have had the same effect if it was in a different social situation.

It is our duty as fellow trade unionists and workers to support the labour movement in Haiti. Unemployment in Haiti reaches 70-80% in Port-au-Prince. The few employees live with a wage of £40. There is no national health care structure. There are very few public hospitals across the country which are able to play any effective role at this time. After the earthquake, after watching their homes collapse, the survivors groped to wrest others from the rubble who were buried. The wounded are accumulated in the streets with no possibility of being assisted by anyone.

The 9,000 UN troops are not helping people in fact the UN has been used to suppress protests by Haitian workers, as in August 2009, during the strike of textile workers to improve their wages, the strike that ended with two dead. They also suppressed the students who were demonstrating against the troops and arrested twenty last November.

Batay Ouvriye is known in the European labour movement and is a community centred trade union, one of the labour organisations that represent the factory workers and the poor in Haiti. During the dock workers dispute a representative of Batay Ouvriye met the Women of the Waterfront in 1997.

1) We appeal to the trade unions and labour movement organizations to make a solidarity campaign in support of Haitian workers and collect contributions to send to the Haitian labour movement.

2) We propose to send the money directly to the labour movement in Haiti, for example Batay Ouvriye www.batayouvriye.org)

3) We urge the British labour movement to send a delegation to Haiti to establish direct links with Batay Ouvriye reciprocating the journey they made in 1996 to support the Liverpool dock workers.

4) We agree to organize a labour movement meeting in order to deepen support.

5) We support the ‘Trade Union and Community Seminars’ that are showing “The Price of Sugar’ film in support of Haiti.

6) We call on the trade union movement to bring pressure on the government and international movement to write off Haiti international debt of £550 million. This will enable Haiti to at least attempt to stabilize the dire financial crisis facing this devastated country.

Note

We need to set up direct relations with Batay Ouvriye that at this moment is difficult, but a trade union federation in Brasil has had trade union exchanges with Batay Ouvriye both going to Haiti in the last few years and receiving visits from Batay.

The fastest way to get money and messages of support to Batay at this moment is through CONLUTAS (www.conlutas.org), Brasil. CONLUTAS will also guarantee to send a letter of receipt from CONLUTAS and Batay.

As soon as is possible we will establish direct relations with Batay.

Letter from CONLUTAS

The Conlutas urges all as a matter of urgency immediate financial contributions to our fellow trade union Batay Ouvrier.

Our members report in a concrete way the struggle for life that we have seen in the press. The struggle of the people who seek care for their wounded and ensure their survival. The collective operation, organization and popular participation, the only way to counter the offensive of imperialism hypocritical, disguising humanitarian aid to send more troops to monitor and control the Haitian people. Now with U.S. imperialism showing who's boss in fact. The sending of 10,000 U.S. military personnel with the front mariners whose specialty was never save lives anywhere in the world, is more than symbolic.

We want to make a campaign on the grounds of our organizations, of class solidarity. Calling the contribution of Brazilian workers to the Haitian workers, who at the same time call for the withdrawal of military occupation that is increasing. But now, collections of contributions in companies, universities or voted on at meetings, with an idea like "a day's pay for the Haitian people," are absolutely necessary, it will take to manage resources more immediate..

So we want every body, movement and organization to discuss next week a direct contribution of its normal resources so we can send.

To do this we open a bank account for deposit of contributions to be sent to Batay Ouvriey. This will allow us to further disseminate the extract from this account to the contributors as well as accountability for the campaign.
Below is the account number.
Grantee: Coordination Haiti
Bank of Brazil
Agency 4223-4
Account 8844-7

We ask the unions, opposition movements and activists who may have made contributions to the account of Conlutas, send us identify the deposit date and amount, so we can give proper routing.
Conlutas
The National Executive
São Paulo, January 19, 2010