THIS IS A STRUGGLE FOR BASIC RIGHTS.
Madagascan dock workers are some of the lowest paid in the world. Some earn less than US$40 per month. Workers struggle to support themselves and their families despite long hours doing difficult, dangerous work.
In 2012, many of these workers joined the Syndicat Général Maritime de Madagascar (SYGMMA) to fight for an end to precarious, low-paid, and unsafe working conditions at the Port of Toamasina. These workers faced intimidation and threats to their employment, with 43 dock workers unfairly dismissed for union activity in 2012.
The Malagasy 43 are now fighting back, and asking you to stand with them.
"I joined the union because I worked for the company for 20 years without a contract. I worked for 20 years without a pay increase. It has been difficult to support my wife and six children. I have an obligation to feed them."
"After the employer threatened the other dock workers, I joined SYGMMA because I wanted to fight with them. I now sell groceries to earn money, and my wife helps me to survive the challenges that I face since I lost my job."
"Our society does not respect our rights. I joined SYGMMA to improve my working conditions and because I hadn’t received a wage increase since 1990. Now I pull a rickshaw to make a living, and my wife helps me to feed our 8 children."
"I joined the union to protect my rights. Because I have the right to be free, to join the union and have the same conditions as the permanent workers. I have worked on the docks since 1990 with no wage increase. Since I lost my job, I sell vegetables to survive. I earn US $0.80 a day. Its tough, but I survive."
"I joined the union to fight for my rights, for everything that we deserve as dockers. I had never received a pay increase from the time I started working on the docks in 1995. Since I lost my job, I take work as a gardener to survive."
"I joined the union to protect myself from intimidation by the director and his colleagues, I wanted to improve the conditions of the dockers at the port. I now pull a rickshaw to feed my family and earn a living."