Workers for a private contractor in the Dominican Republic are getting $5 a month from the government to help them cover basic expenses in their home country.
The contract with the Dominican Confederation of Municipalities (DMC) was awarded in March.
In Haiti, the cost of living is one of the highest in the world and living expenses can be as high as $1,000 a month.
However, the workers have no other options.
“I’m paying my mortgage, and I’m working for my boss,” said Carlos Gómez, an unemployed electrical engineer in the port city of Guadeloupe.
“So what can I do to save money?
I’ve got two small children to take care of.”
The contract provides the workers with two months’ salary each month, which Gómesos earns from the sale of electricity from his own household.
But he’s worried that this will mean he can’t afford to pay for basic necessities.
“If I had to spend money for my kids’ education, I’d have to buy a new car, a new house,” Gómas said.
“My main problem is that I can’t save money.”
Gómaz is one member of the DMC’s labour council, which represents more than 40,000 workers in Haiti.
The council’s aim is to improve working conditions in Haiti, and its members have been lobbying the government since 2009 to make the contract more equitable for the workers.
The deal with the DSC is only the latest in a series of attempts by the DCHM to improve the living conditions of workers in the country.
According to a recent study by the United Nations, Haiti’s unemployment rate is almost 30 percent.
In 2017, the DMI and other unions agreed to a proposal that would allow workers to form a union and negotiate better working conditions.
The union, the Confederation of Democratic Industries (CDI), has been a strong supporter of the deal, and has lobbied the government in recent months to allow the workers to vote on the proposed new contract.
In 2018, the unions and the government agreed to create a new labour law that would give workers more bargaining power and improve the working conditions of DMC workers.
But workers’ representatives say that the new contract is too expensive for workers.
“This contract is for the benefit of the workers,” said Gómy Gómé, the head of the CDI’s workers’ committee.
“But it’s also for the government, which is the same as the employers.”
The CDI is also pushing for the DMA to offer better salaries and benefits.
The government, however, has said it will not make any changes to the proposed contract.