News archive

“NOW I AM BOLD” A photographic celebration of the work of Banana Link 07.09.2017
To mark twenty one years of achievement in making a real difference to the lives of the plantation workers and small-scale farmers that produce the tropical fruit we eat, Banana Link has a photographic exhibition running for the month of September at The Norwich Playhouse.    The exhibition is in the upper and lower corridors of The Norwich Playhouse, leading to the auditorium, and free to access at any time during the day.    The Norwich Playhouse 42-58 St George's Street Norwich NR3 1AB   A proud record of achievement    Most of the bananas and pineapple we eat are grown on large scale...
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Banana Link Trustee, trade unionist and peace activist, Don Pollard passes away 05.09.2017
Banana Link is saddened by the recent passing of our one time trustee, trade unionist and peace activist, Don Pollard. To mark his passing we reproduce below his obituary, published in The Guardian:   The trade unionist and peace activist Don Pollard, who has died aged 80, was one of the driving forces behind the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, legislation brought in by the British government to curb the exploitation of agricultural and food workers in the UK.   It took the Morecambe Bay tragedy to bring his and fellow union organisers’ efforts to fruition. In 2004, 23 Chinese workers...
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REGISTER NOW - World Banana Forum Global Meeting 14.08.2017
Registration for the event now open. For more information, click here. After years of postponement due to concerns over the potential spread of pests and diseases into production countries, the Third Conference of the World Banana Forum (WBF) is due to take place later this year in a country famed for its neutrality – Switzerland.  The event is facilitated by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and follows on from the inaugural conference held in Italy in 2009 and the second gathering in Ecuador three years later. Hundreds of people including banana industry leaders...
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Fyffes sets up parallel unions: Honduras’ increasingly tainted melons 28.07.2017
In May, the Irish multinational corporation Fyffes—recently purchased by Japanese giant Sumitomo—had its membership in the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI)1 suspended following several reports of labor and union rights violations in the company’s melon and pineapple plantations in Honduras and Costa Rica. But instead of mending its ways, Fyffes has chosen to continue with its antiunion practices.   In June, leaders of the Union of Agroindustry and Related Industry Workers (STAS) were alerted by reliable sources that something unusual was going on in the melon companies owned by Fyffes.   “I...
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“I am constantly in pain” - The tragic damage caused by repetitive strain injury in Honduran agroindustry 24.07.2017
Waldina Ayestas is 44 years old. A single mother of three children, she has worked for 13 years in the packaging area of the Corozal 2 farm, owned by Chiquita Honduras, where she developed carpal tunnel syndrome. Although her life has changed forever, neither the multinational cooperation nor the health authorities will accept that this is a work-related illness.    Waldina Ayestas has carried out various tasks in the packaging area, including selecting, stamping and packing the bananas. She spent years repeating the same movements with no opportunity to rotate to a different post.    After...
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Changuinola, Panama : progress for the unions and workers’ cooperative 24.07.2017
This historic banana exporting region lies at the heart of the continent. For the best part of a century, the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita) monopolised production on Panama’s Atlantic (Caribbean) coast and any benefits for workers were only gained through hard struggles to form independent trade unions. Today, Chiquita is still there, under new ownership, but does not call the shots in the way it used to be able to do in the day’s when Panama was one of the classic ‘banana republics’.   Putting health at the heart of the agenda   SITRAIBANA, formerly the Chiriqui Land Company Workers’...
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Protection for Colombian agricultural trade union leaders – ACT NOW! 19.07.2017
On Saturday 1 July, Alberto Román Acosta González, President of the Guacarí branch of the National Union of Workers in Agricultural Industries (SINTRAINAGRO) in Colombia, was assassinated in the Valle del Cauca’s sugar plantation zone. This attack followed an earlier grenade attack in March this year at SINTRAINAGRO offices in the department of Magdalena, Ciénaga municipality of the country.   In response to this latest attack, SINTRAINGRO is calling for international support for their demand that the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos Calderón and his government undertake a full and...
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Guadeloupe : Six-week strike ends in agreement 06.07.2017
Banana workers from 20 plantations in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe went back to work this week after a six-week long strike over a range of issues covering their system of payment and occupational health & safety issues. The strike, which started on 18th May and gained the support of the majority of the workforce, has concluded with an agreement with the islands’ producers’ association. It is hoped that this agreement lays the foundation for improved relations in an industry where there is no collective agreement regulating pay and working conditions.   Workers block a road...
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Colombian agricultural workers' union leader assassinated 05.07.2017
Alberto Román Acosta González, the president of the Guacarí branch of the National Union of Workers in Agricultural Industries (Sintrainagro), was murdered on Saturday 1 July in the Valle del Cauca’s sugar plantation zone.   Sintrainagro, the National Union of Workers in Agricultural Industries has issued the following statement:    Apartadó, 1 July 2017   Sintrainagro, the National Union of Workers in Agricultural Industries, informs its partners and the national and international public of the murder of Alberto Román Acosta González, a union leader of the sugar cane workers in the Valle del...
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Your donations helping to rebuild lives in Peru 19.06.2017
Thank you for your donations to our appeal in support of tropical fruit workers who lost their homes in recent flooding in Peru. So far, we have raised £2000, which has been sent to Peru. The first £800 of your donations have been spent on buying 18 mattresses and 3 gas cookers, that were distributed to the victims in the La Libertad region, who are workers of the companies Talsa and Sociedad Agrícola Virú. They lost everything.    We will bring you further reports, as we get them, on how the rest of the money is being spent.    You can still donate to our appeal here to help buy building...
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