Industry Update/National Response
- Late May 2021: The Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP) forbids all gathering events in schools such as graduation ceremonies, end-of-year celebrations, and recreational days in schools are prohibited until new order.
- The government issued an order declaring a state of health emergency throughout the national territory for a period of eight days, which may be extended.
- Mid-May 2021: Local and international media report that Haiti has authorized the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as COVID-19.
- The Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) alerted the screening of two variants of COVID-19 detected in the country. These are the Brazilian and the English variants. The ministry will continue to investigate to assess the extent of the problem given the high contagiousness of these variants and urge everybody to strictly apply the protective measure against covid-19 spreading.
- The ombudsman’s office will hold mediation sessions virtually to protect constituents and prevent any risk of COVID-19 spreading among actors in the textile sector, due to the alert of the MSPP of the presence of the Indian and Brazilian variants in the country. Face-to-face mediation meetings will be temporarily suspended, until further notice.
- 4 April, 2021: The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Claude Joseph was nominated as Acting Prime Minister after former Prime Minister Jouthe Joseph resigned.
- The new Haitian government is focusing on acting against the current critical national crisis of insecurity (kidnapping) and planning for an election at the end of 2021.
- 6 April 2021: S&H Global announced the closure of its 5th module/building in the north due to a lack of orders caused by the global impact of Covid-19. Its 1400 workers will be transferred to its 5 remaining modules.
- The apparel sector is gradually recovering the lost jobs due to the severe impact of Covid-19 from 19, 000 (end of 2020) to 48,000 (April 2021).
- April 2021: Despite a global surge of demands for Personal protective equipment (PPE), there are challenges preventing Haiti from fully exploiting this opportunity. There is a lack of information and understanding on how to reach clients effectively and understanding the dynamics of a fast changing market, Haiti’s competitive position in the design, technical requirements, certifications, market appetite and sustainability beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Factory Services Update
- As of May 2021: In-person assessments have resumed. Advisory and training are delivered virtually until further notice.
- Better Work continues to conduct in-person assessments with MAST inspectors.
- Better Work participating factories continue to implement the basic prevention measures to spreading of COVID-19 (restricting crowds, social distancing, hand-washing, temperature measuring, and distribution of protective equipment to workers.)
- Advisory services are delivered virtually with a continuous focus on response to COVID-19 and urging employers to implement guidelines of the comprehensive Management guide on COVID-19 to all factories.
- Better Work is bringing to the attention of social security bodies the importance of revenue collection losses and the impact of social benefits for workers in the context of COVID-19.
- Better Work is collaborating with the ILO/AIDS and The World Health Organization (WHO) to provide specific COVID-19 prevention and infection control training to forty-eight (48) factory medical personnel in Port-au-Prince and the Northeast, including (34) women.
Other Better Work Activities
- Late April 2021: 65 participants from 18 factories joined a webinar hosted by Better Work Haiti on the International Day of Security and Health 2021. This event was focused the topic of investing now in resilient systems to anticipate and resolve crises and discussing key measures taken to protect the safety and health of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Better Work published the findings of a workers’ survey conducted at the end of 2020 on 3300 workers in 38 factories with a focus on workers’ well-being.
- Better Work Haiti is liaising with all stakeholders to limit the impact on workers and business and identify a collective approach to support the industry.
- In collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST), Better Work published a comprehensive “Guide for Better Response to COVID-19 for Participating Factories” and continued broadcasting information to bipartite and OSH committees to raise awareness among stakeholders for common understanding of labour related recommendations during COVID-19.
- To influence labour market governance to improve compliance in a more sustainable way, Better Work Haiti established a collaboration with workers’ organization to train their leaders at the factory level, who will train other union members on prevention and OSH guidelines for COVID-19 (30 members, 13 women participated in the training sessions.).
- As part of the global “Call to Action,” Better Work Haiti and national stakeholders will support 10,000 workers (including 1,500 pregnant women) that experienced work stoppage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to benefit from direct financial aid that can help them to recover from unexpected expenses on households to meet their basic needs.
- Considering workers’ concerns and questions, Better Work Haiti continues engaging with the bipartite and OSH committees to broadcast key provisions of national and international labour standards relevant to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.