PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ? Hours after more than 2,000 Haitians took to the streets demanding an increase in the minimum wage, Parliamentarians voted late Tuesday night to double the existing rate even though it fell short of the five US dollars the workers had demanded.
Under the new measure, the minimum wage has now been increased to US$3.75 and would also be paid to workers at factories producing clothes for export.
President Rene Preval had opposed the increase to factory workers, who in March had received an increase to three US dollars.
The legislators by a margin of 55-6 voted late on Tuesday to increase the minimum wage hours after police had fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators who had claimed that the existing US$1.75 was not sufficient to meet their daily needs.
Steve Benoit, who piloted the legislation for the increase in the minimum wage, said that only 250,000 people have jobs covered by the minimum salary law.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere and most of its population are employed on small farms or sell basic goods on the street.