In Haiti, there are virtually no state-provided services. Roads are a mess and basic infrastructure is missing in most places throughout the country.
On January 31, 2017, workers of the SOKOWA textile trade union, working in the Codevi Trade Zone in Ounaminthe, went on strike and took the streets protesting a 13% tax on their wages. Thousands of other workers and other people joined them to march.
While a wage tax sounds like a normal practice, this is a means of the state and its officials to accumulate more wealth off the backs of workers. They already receive starvation wages with no public services.
After the January 21 mobilization , state officials agreed to meet with the workers, but held their ground on extracting the tax. So SOKOWA, garment workers, and many others took the streets again last week in protest.
Below is the text from the leaflet distributed in the Codevi Free Trade Zone that again brought thousands of workers and others out to the streets to protest this injustice (English & Kreyol).
Comrades in Codevi,
As a result of the march we organized this past January 30, 2017 for the mobilization against paying taxes without services, the director of the State Tax Authority (DGI) came to Codevi. He remained steadfast on the tax collection question. He said Codevi is obligated to collect the 13% tax on our miserly wages. Are we going to accept this nonsense? For a response to the DGI director, we are organizing a march this afternoon after work at 4 :30 pm. We are awaiting you all to rally in front of the bridge. Do not believe people who are saying this is not true. Fetch one another to come and make the government understand we disagree. NO, WE ARE NOT OBEYING ! NO, WE ARE NOT PAYING TAXES FOR NOTHING ! NO SERVICES, NO TAXES !
Kanmarad Ouvriye ak Ouvriyèz nan Codevi,
Apre mach nou te òganize 30 janvye 2017 pase a nan kad mobilizasyon kont peye enpo ak lòt taks san nou pa jwenn okenn sèvis, Direktè DGI te vini nan Codevi. Li kanpe dan di sou kesyon an. Li di Codevi gen obligasyon pou pran 13% nan ti monnen n ap touche a. Eske n ap asepte koze sa a ? Pou bay direktè DGI a yon repons, n ap òganize yon mach apremidi a, apre travay apati 4è 30. N ap tann nou tout devan pon a. Pa koute moun k ap voye monte epi ki t ap di nou se pa vre, Youn pase pran lòt pou nou fè leta konprann nou pa dakò. NON, NOU PAP OBEYI ! NON, NOU PAP PEYE TAKS POU GRAN MESI ! PA GEN SÈVIS, PA GEN TAKS !
Follow the RRN for updates, as these workers may be calling on us for solidarity soon!