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Orange workers fight anti-union violence

May 25, 2001 | Page 13

ORANGE WORKERS and local farmers who occupied a plantation in northern Haiti are appealing for support in their fight against anti-union harassment and violence.

Workers at a plantation run by the Haitian company Guacimal, which supplies oranges used by the French firm Rémy Cointreau to make its famous liqueur, unionized in October of last year. But management refused to negotiate, sparking a strike.

The company and local government officials used violence and intimidation to break the strike, and the plantation's overseer tried to bar union members from returning to work.

At the beginning of the April-to-August "off season"--when oranges aren't harvested, and laid-off plantation workers and local farmers grow their own crops on small parcels of plantation land--the overseer barred union members from getting plots.

After a series of protests, a plantation guard beat a child for picking oranges. This sparked the occupation at the end of April.

The workers and farmers say that they won't share their harvest with the overseer or guards until the violence and intimidation ends.

Send protest letters to Dominique Hériard Dubreuil, Rémy Cointreau, 152, avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris FRANCE.

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