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Go Haiti S.A – How strong management systems contribute to high levels of compliance with labour standards.

10 Dec 2016

A focus on management awareness and training yields positive results for a new Haitian garment factory

10 December 2016

Mathias Beris, Plant Manager at Go Haiti S.A
Mathias Beris, Plant Manager at Go Haiti S.A

Port au Prince – The annual Better Work labour compliance assessment of November 2016 has shown that, with a non-compliance rate of only 3%, the Go Haiti S.A factory placed first in terms of its compliance rate among all assessed garment factories in Haiti. Mathias Beris, Plant Manager at Go Haiti, welcomed the news: “Go Haiti is committed to being a company that respects legal requirements. We believe that creating a safe and compliant working environment is not an option for us but our highest priority.”

Go Haiti was founded in 2016.  It currently mainly produces active wear and they offer a full package service through a joint venture with a partner company. The factory employs almost 400 workers.  Several key management staff have many years of experience in Haiti’s apparel industry and they are familiar with Better Work’s services. They are also very knowledgeable of legal requirements with regards to international and national core labour standards.

Only two other factories have ever reached or undercut such low non-compliance rates since the inception of the Better Work program in 2009. Caribbean Island Apparel had a non-compliance rate of 3% in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Horizon Manufacturing has also had consistently low non-compliance levels (2012: 2%, 2013: 3%, 2014: 1%, 2015: 2%). The factories have in common strong management systems that are built into the company culture and structure.

Joceline Garraud, Compliance Manager at Go Haiti
Joceline Garraud, Compliance Manager at Go Haiti

Joceline Garraud, Compliance Manager at Go Haiti, explains: “From the onset, we have set up strong systems in the company to avoid falling in non-compliance, in particular in the area of Occupational Safety and Health in which most factories have high levels of non-compliance. We have an OSH committee which includes workers and meets on a monthly basis. We also do internal OSH inspections on a weekly basis which helps to identify any existing or potential future non-compliance issues. We then discuss these issues with management and workers and come up with realistic and sustainable solutions to OSH challenges. The OSH committee is helping to communicate any relevant information to the workforce. This collaboration between management and workers has proven to be a very well-working mechanism for us.”

During Better Work’s assessment, the Enterprise Advisors verify a factory’s management systems in the area of OSH and Human Resources. Although these questions are not compliance questions since they do not correspond to legal requirements, a total of thirteen questions are included in Better Work’s assessment tool to measure the maturity of a factory’s systems. Go Haiti fulfilled all requirements with regards to those thirteen questions and has set up all the necessary systems that Better Work currently examines.

The factory also emphasizes the importance of regular training, not only for workers, but also for management staff. New workers undergo an induction training which includes a video that explains company policies and procedures to newly hired workers. Twice a year, the factory then organizes joint training for the entire workforce and all management staff to go through the company policies and procedures. The fact that this training is repeated, underlines the commitment to continuous learning at the heart of the company culture.

Joceline Garraud says: “We believe in learning and improving through regular follow up, regular meetings, regular internal inspections and verifications and through  of all members of the company in the process. In our factory, 100% of our workers are making at least 350 Gourdes per day which is higher than the minimum wage for this sector. Better Work’s assessment was done in November 2016. We are now working on remediation of the non-compliance issues identified during the last Better Work assessment. The goal is to be the first factory in Haiti that is found 100% in compliance by Better Work.”

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