Since 2009, Better Work Haiti (BWH) has joined with workers, employers and government to improve working conditions and boost the competitiveness of the garment industry.
The programme covers all garment factories and some other manufacturing factories in Haiti exporting to the US market. The garment industry is one of the largest employers in Haiti, creating jobs for approximately 40,000 people. In 2015, total export revenues from the textile and garment industry accounted for approximately 90% of national export earnings and 10% of national GDP.
In June 2015, the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (HOPE/HELP) was adopted by the United States (US) House of Representatives. It includes an extension of 10 years of Haiti’s preferential trade deal to the US for apparel products.
In November 2015 a general Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Better Work Haiti and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST) that institutionalises the collaboration to improve working conditions in the Haitian garment industry. Since 2015, a task force of 14 inspectors of the Ministry accompanies Better Work Enterprise Advisors during assessments and advisory visits to factories in Port-au-Prince, Caracol, and Ouanaminthe. These joint visits are building the capacity of the Ministries’ inspection department. BWH also collaborated with MAST on the development of a practical labour law guide to be published in five languages.
Better Work Haiti continues to implement training under a grant provided by GAP to support workplace cooperation and a grant by The Walt Disney Company for supervisory skills training and higher level management skills.
In 2016, BWH launched two new projects in partnership with Share Hope Foundation. One is an innovative clinic improvement program in which factories will be supported to better utilise resources. The second program targets a smaller group of beneficiaries that is widely marginalised: Seventy deaf-mute factory workers have received hearing aid devices through Share Hope in 2015 and will now benefit from speech therapy and sign language classes. Both projects are supported by Levi Strauss Foundation.