News archive

Peru organic exports on the up and up 29.06.2015
Peruvian exporters' association ADEX estimates that banana revenues will rise to US $150 million for this year, with an estimated increase of nearly 25% in export volumes. The figures are based on exports for the first five months of the year and would mean the country is close to becoming the world's leading exporter, overtaking Dominican Republic for the first time.   The United States has doubled its purchases of Peruvian bananas between the first months of 2014 and the same period this year.   The average value per kilo has risen by 5% to 76.5 cents. If the current export levels continue...
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Haitian workers mobilise to seek legal status 29.06.2015
A significant proportion of the Haitian workers employed on a full-time or part-time basis in the Dominican Republic's burgeoning banana industry have presented their papers as part of a major government-led regularisation programme, according to local sources. This programme will not only make their presence in the country legal for the first time, but will give them access to the social security system, notably to the same rights to healthcare as their Dominican counterparts.   Although figures vary as to how many banana workers have sought to legalise their presence in the Dominican...
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Latin American union leader addresses GMB Congress 29.06.2015
Gilbert Bermudez, Coordinator of the Coordinating Body of Latin American Banana and Agro-industrial Worker Unions, addressed delegates at the annual GMB congress in Dublin earlier this month. His speech highlighted the labour rights abuses faced by workers in much of the world and by those working on plantations in particular.  "In many plantations, working hours, are still excessively long persecution and sacking of union members, low wages, sexual harassment and discrimination of women workers, and threats to people's lives persist." Gilbert Bermudez cited examples including that of...
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Colombian workers and producers conclude agreement in record time 19.06.2015
Representatives of over 18,000 banana workers and 266 growers, have concluded a new two-year collective bargaining agreement in just 19 days of negotiation. Despite difficult conditions for Colombian fruit on international markets, Latin America's biggest banana workers'  union, SINTRAINAGRO, has secured a broad agreement with the industry in Urabá, the country's main exporting region. The agreement includes an increase in wage rates of 6% in the first year and an increase in line with the Consumer Price Index for the second year.   The housing fund, jointly managed by the union and the...
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Petition to Make Fruit Fair 15.06.2015
Banana Link and eighteen other Make Fruit Fair partners have today launched a petition calling on the EC to regulate and end the Unfair Trading Practices of retailers. Thousands of farmers and workers are exploited every year to produce the sweet and juicy mangoes, bananas and pineapples that we enjoy. Their basic rights are often simply ignored. As consumers, we have a strong voice and can use it to urge the EU, governments, supermarkets and the wider food industry to take action to end unfair trading practices. These powerful actors need to ensure that a fair price is paid for tropical...
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FAO: Soil degradation reaching critical point 06.05.2015
During Global Soil Week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has urged for more concrete measures to protect soils. The FAO is calling for more action to protect soil in 2015, the UN’s international year of soils. This international year aims to highlight the importance of healthy soil and draw attention to the threats facing this most important resource.    Earlier this month, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva highlighted soils as an area of priority in talks with high-level EU representatives, including agriculture commissioner Paul Hogan. Last year, the EU withdrew...
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The EPA between the EU and West Africa: Who benefits? 06.05.2015
  CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for relief and development, have questioned how effective the EPA between the EU and West Africa will be for the region's development in their recent Spotlight 2015 Policy Paper on Trade, and have advised members of the European Parliament not to ratify it.    CONCORD state their regret that the EU, the largest economic zone in the world, is trying to obtain disproportionate commercial concessions from one of the poorest regions in the world. The confederation believe that the EPA would result in West Africa having less policy space to use important...
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Call to end pineapple expansion in Costa Rica 29.04.2015
The immediate establishment of a moratorium on the expansion of pineapple plantations has been applied for by the Costa Rican environmental organisation, Cedarena. This call was made before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, United States last month. Cedarena is demanding that until an independent analysis of the impact of the use of agrochemicals in the pineapple industry on public health is published, the expansion of land under pineapple production should be curbed. The hearing took place in the regular session of the Commission 154 and was a call for...
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Latin American unions building links in French Caribbean 28.04.2015
The first ever visit by Latin American worker representatives to the islands of the French Caribbean took place this week. The visit by three trade union leaders from Ecuador, Honduras and Costa Rica, representing Latin American Banana Workers' Union Coordinating Body COLSIBA, was hosted by banana workers' representatives of the CGT of Guadeloupe.    The visit to Guadeloupe launched a programme of work on occupational health & safety and pesticide reduction and is funded by the French Committee for International Solidarity. COLSIBA visitors were extremely impressed by the efforts that...
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Striking Peruvian workers attacked 28.04.2015
Several thousand workers at Northern Peruvian asparagus and artichoke company, Sociedad Agricola Viru (SAV), stopped work on April 22 in protest at what they believe is fraud by their employer. For the third year running the company declared a financial loss to revenue authorities, but the union believes this is just accounting manipulation to prevent them from sharing profits with workers.   At least two workers were injured when police in riot gear were called by the company and responded to striking workers with rubber bullets. General Secretary of the SITESAV union, Genaro Quispe Ventura...
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