News archive

GMB Union pledges support to beleaguered Cameroon banana workers 14.06.2019
The GMB trade union has pledged it's support to the thousands of banana workers in Cameroon whose livelihoods are threatened by political unrest in the country, which has resulted in the majority of banana plantations being closed down, while banana workers themselves have been attacked by militant Anglophone separatists.    An Emergency Motion passed by delegates to the GMB Congress in Brighton yesterday (13 June) agreed to set up a fund to support the plantation workers' union, the Fako Agricultural Workers Union (FAWU), which is on the verge of collapse. The union also resolved to lobby...
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Costco Ceases Orders Following Union-Busting on Fyffes’ Honduran Plantations 12.06.2019
Following letters to Costco Wholesale from Fair World Project and the International Labor Rights Forum urging the retailer to make future purchase orders with fruit company Fyffes contingent on the cessation of labor rights violations, Costco has confirmed that it has not placed future orders for melons from the Fyffes operations where ongoing violations occur. Fyffes is an Irish multinational company owned by the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo, and is one of the largest fruit brands in the world.   “This is a victory for the Honduran farmworkers who have been organizing for three years to...
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Dole reaffirms commitment to Honduras despite political crisis 12.06.2019
On 2nd June, over 60 banana containers belonging to the Dole Food Company’s Honduran subsidiary were blocked from accessing the port and over half of them burned near the town of Colon. The incident came in the midst of rising protests across the country over Presidential decrees by Juan Orlando Hernandez which many think will destroy basic public education and health services.   The same day a Guatemalan newspaper, citing a Guatemalan agribusiness organisation, reported that Dole had announced it was leaving the country to invest in its existing banana operations in neighbouring Guatemala...
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Lidl backs away from Fairtrade bananas 20.05.2019
The German discount retailer Lidl has announced that it is pulling back from the commitment it made last September to switch to selling only Fairtrade bananas in its 3,200 German and Swiss stores. So far about 40% of these stores had made the switch to Fairtrade only.    The company claims that customers in both countries failed to respond positively to the move. Jan Bock, purchasing manager at Lidl Germany is quoted as saying "We did not succeed in convincing the customer of our commitment." The company says it remains committed to the Fairtrade concept and will continue to stock Fairtrade...
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Fairtrade bananas more and more popular in France 01.05.2019
In 2018, sales of Fairtrade labelled bananas in France grew by 36%, reaching a total volume of 64,000 tonnes. This figure represents 10% of the national market and nearly 10% of total sales of Fairtrade bananas worldwide. This growth has mainly taken place since 2014 when volumes more than doubled in one year.    As ever the role of the consumers in choosing the product, coupled to sourcing decisions by major supermarket chains, has been critical in this evolution. A recent study shows that 80% of consumers  want retailers to offer more Fairtrade products and 33% think that retailers should...
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Working conditions and environmental situation on pineapple plantations in northern Costa Rica 17.04.2019
By Marylaura Acuña Alvarado and Mauricio Álvarez from the Socio-Environmental Kiosk Programme, University of Costa Rica(Reproduced from https://surcosdigital.com/situacion-laboral-y-ambiental-de-la-pineras-en-la-zona-norte/) Participants in the Socio-Environmental Kiosk Programme have been working in various communities of northern Costa Rica. By means of social action and investigation they have been looking into the world of paid work on pineapple plantations. Work has been carried out with community and union organisations, such as the Private Sector Workers' Union (SITRASEP) in Santa Fe...
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Protecting the people behind the barcodes 09.04.2019
The Europe-wide Make Fruit Fair! Campaign, in which Banana Link played a key role, called on the European Union to take action to prevent supermarkets abusing their buying power, to ensure they treat their suppliers fairly, and pay prices that cover the costs of sustainable production.   The EU has today announced new rules designed to address the problem:   European ministers meeting in Luxemburg today (9 April) will formally approve new European rules that ban abusive trading practices by supermarkets and large buyers in the global food supply chain, writes Marissa Ryan.   Marissa Ryan is...
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Misery and frustration continues for banana workers in Cameroon 01.04.2019
The political crisis in the Anglophone regions of North West and South West Cameroon is continuing to cause misery and frustration for banana workers at at Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) plantations.   We have received a report this week, from Charles Mbide Kude, the General Secretary of the Fako Agricultural Workers Union (FAWU), that CDC has cut down its banana crops and is inviting workers to come and cultivate food crops for themselves on the plantations. Workers have not been paid for nine months. and FAWU is on the verge of collapse too.      France24 this week broadcast the...
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“Retail, don’t look away from TR4” - Luud Clercx, Agrofair 27.03.2019
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp cubense Tropical Race 4, TR4 in short, also known as Panama disease, is starting to show up on the radar of major banana growers. Not a banana conference goes by without presentations on TR4, the mould that has plagued the sector for two decades now.   It’s now time to also increase awareness among small growers and other links in the supply chain, and to work together to prevent a continued spreading of TR4. Last November, during a GlobalGAP congress in Lima, Peru, a call for action was presented with that aim. It’s also a call for supermarkets not to look away.   “...
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Fyffes membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative terminated 25.03.2019
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) has announced today that they have terminated the membership of Fyffes, as a result of the company’s failure to respect the ETI Base Code, an internationally recognised set of labour standards based on ILO Conventions.   Fyffes was initially suspended by the ETI following formal complaints, made under ETI’s complaints procedure, by Banana Link and the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) in March 2016. These concerned the treatment of workers at Fyffes’ subsidiary in Honduras – Suragroh – in particular the failure to respect the right of workers to...
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