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Acoprovi warns against a massive repatriations

SANTO DOMINGO. The Dominican Association of Builders and Promoters of Housing (Acoprovi) warned that if the authorities repatriate all the undocumented Haitians that work in construction, this sector would close down and, therefore, the economy would be paralyzed.

Fermin Acosta, the outgoing president of the entity, taking part in the Dialogo Libre, sponsored by this newspaper, said that pretending to take all of the Haitians out of the country as has been suggested, is a sophism and a dream. He rejected that the application of the 80 – 20 (regarding the proportion of Dominican and foreign workers), is feasible as the Ministry of Labor has suggested.

He revealed that in the construction sector between 260,000 and 270,000 foreign workers, the majority Haitian, are working, so that the lack of documentation of these foreigners is an affair of state, not of the construction sector.

He indicated that a massive repatriation of Haitians not only would affect the constructions, but also other sectors such as agriculture.

He admitted that there is a surplus of foreign labor, but he feels that the authorities are those that have allowed this to happen, because it is a problem that the country has had since the time of Trujillo.

He also recognized that they are violators of the Labor Code, which in article 135 establishes that 80%, at least, of the total number of workers in a company should be Dominican.

“…. And what are we going to say, that it’s not true? One time, I fired all my Haitian workers and I had to rehire them back in, because I could not build anything,” he emphasized.

Breton denies a belief

For his part, Hector Breton, the president-elect of Acoprovi for the next two years, starting on 23 March, denied that the construction sector has more Haitians that Dominicans because they pay less to the foreigners. He emphasized that it is not true that foreign labor is cheaper for the builders, because they pay the same amount to a foreigner as to a Dominican, some RD$550 per day, but the Dominicans don’t go to the construction sites.

He also admitted the majority presence of undocumented foreigners in his projects, but he said that they (builders) don’t do this because they prefer it because nobody wants to work with undocumented workers, since, when a worker suffers an accident, it is the patron who has to cover the cost, because of a lack of insurance.

He said that Acoprovi suggested to the Ministry of Labor the creation of a committee to give incentives to Dominicans to work in construction, which would include training of Dominican personnel.

“Are we contracting foreign labor? Yes. Why? Because Dominican labor is not forthcoming, nobody wants to have an undocumented person in his project; this is a problem because you are not allowed to register this undocumented person in Social Security,” he said.

He explained that they have an agreement with the Institute of Technical Professional Training (INFOTEP) to train plumbers, carpenters and other technicians, which have better salaries than those which mix cement and other jobs.

Source: DiarioLibre

March 16, 2015

Category: DR News |

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