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Haitian Garment Plants Accused Of Cheating Workers

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A labor rights group is accusing clothing manufacturers in Haiti of frequently cheating workers out of their meager wages by skirting the minimum-wage laws. The U.S.-based Worker Rights Consortium says workers receive an average of 32 percent less than what they should under the minimum wage.

Haiti's minimum wage for experienced garment workers is just under 90 cents an hour. Less experienced workers get just under 60 cents. But a report scheduled to be released Wednesday says workers in the 24 export garment factories effectively earn less because of production quotas and off-the-clock work. A Haitian official says the report is exaggerated. The U.S. and other nations have promoted investment in the garment sector to create jobs in Haiti, but the consortium says many workers are struggling to survive.

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