News archive

Workers report miscarriage, sexual harassment and acts of aggression 31.05.2017
  Workers report miscarriage, sexual harassment and acts of aggression - Pineapple and banana production crushes women’s rights   T-shirt, jeans and oil-skin boots. That is how Sugeily Sarmiento dresses to work on the banana plantation on the Palo Verde estate in Matina. Every morning she puts on these clothes to go to work, but she cannot erase the memory of how, three months ago, they were soaked in blood, when she had a miscarriage - she alleges - as a result of abuse of her labour rights.    “The boss mistreats me. When I was pregnant he came up to me and told me that there was no use me...
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Toxic herbicide banned amid calls for halt to pineapple expansion in Costa Rica 22.05.2017
The government of Costa Rica announced on 16 May that it is to ban the use of the toxic chemical herbicide Bromacil throughout the country.     The chemical is widely used by pineapple farmers, but poses a high risk of contaminating groundwater and affecting human health. Effects on human health include irritation to the skin, eyes and the respiratory tract, vomiting, muscle weakness, and diarrhoea, whilst it has also been linked to thyroid, liver and kidney cancers.    “We have analysed, from the environmental point of view – that Bromacil is highly toxic, especially to humans, and is highly...
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Del Monte takes on former Chiquita land in Panama 18.05.2017
After the collapse of the COOSEMUPAR workers' cooperative over a decade ago, several fruit companies have taken an interest in leasing the land in the Baru province on Panama's Pacific coast. Following several years of negotiations, the proposed investment by Fresh Del Monte has been accepted in late April by the Panamanian government which owns most of the land concerned.   A series of companies have explored replanting the land that had historically been farmed by Chiquita before they abandoned it in the hands of their former employees. Reports indicate interest from Fyffes, now-bankrupt...
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New research aims to improve women's participation in the banana industry 12.05.2017
Banana Link has just published the results of research we have undertaken to analyse the participation of women workers and small producers in the global banana industry. The working papers, documenting the research findings, include statistics on women’s’ participation in the industry, an analysis of the potential causal factors for this varying level of participation, identification of the key issues faced by local women workers and producers in the workplace and at home, the different roles/tasks that women carry out in the different countries and companies and any existing innovations...
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Unsustainability in New Zealand’s banana supply chain: what you need to know 10.05.2017
Bananas take out the top spot as Kiwi’s favourite fruit, yet support for sustainable banana supply chains remain weak in the retail space.   New research highlights the unsustainability of New Zealand’s banana supply chain and the need for major retailers to do more to support banana farmers and workers in the cultivation of bananas in Ecuador.   According to Basic’s (The Bureau for the Appraisal of Societal Impacts and Costs) ‘The Big Squeeze’ report, commissioned by Fairtrade New Zealand, New Zealand’s banana market is placing a significant amount of pressure on banana producing countries,...
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Hope for worker rights at Fyffes subsidiaries in Costa Rica and Honduras? 05.05.2017
The 5 May announcement by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) that Fyffes are to be temporarily suspended from membership raises hope for workers at their subsidiaries in Costa Rica and Honduras, that labour rights would, in future, be fully and properly respected.     The ETI’s action follows a complaint submitted by Banana Link and the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) and upheld by the ETI that Fyffes are in breach of the ETI Base Code by failing to properly respect Freedom of Association and the right to Collective Bargaining and to provide a safe and hygienic workplace on their...
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Flood-hit Dominican Republic banana sector “determined” to recover 03.05.2017
Heavy rainfall and flooding which devastated much of the Dominican Republic’s organic banana production late last year is having a lasting effect as farmers struggle to rehabilitate plantations, some of which have needed to be completely replanted. PBUK looks into what has been happening since a tropical storm hit last November and how low prices are contributing to losses. It will be at least September or October before banana plantations start truly recovering from the floods that battered the Dominican Republic’s key growing region of Palo Verde.   For months farmers have been rebuilding...
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Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Condemns Attack on Union Members in Honduras 02.05.2017
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the attack in Honduras on April 13, 2017, carried out against Moisés Sánchez, General Secretary of a chapter of the STAS union of agricultural workers, and his brother, Misael Sánchez (pictured), who is also affiliated with that labor union.   According to information provided to the IACHR, as well as publicly available information, the brothers had left the union office in the department of Choluteca and were bicycling down the road when they were violently attacked by four hooded men armed with guns and machetes. Misael Sánchez...
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Armed attack on trade union organiser at Fyffes subsidiary in Honduras 20.04.2017
The news report below has been translated and reproduced from - http://informes.rel-uita.org/index.php/sindicatos/item/no-nos-van-a-intimidar The global Freedom and Fairness for Fyffes workers! campaign is currently calling on the company to respect the rights of workers in its global supply chains.   “They will not intimidate us” General Secretary of STAS’s sub-branch at Fyffes denounces the criminal attack    By Giorgio Trucchi | IUF Latin America   On 15 April, Moisés Sánchez and his brother were attacked by unknown assailants armed with handguns and machetes while they were returning to...
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Peru flooding: trade unionists desperately need your help 30.03.2017
Members of Banana Link's Peruvian trade union partner, SITAG (Sindicato De Trabajadores Agrarios Del Peru), and SITETSA (Sindicato De Trabajadores Empresa Talsa) trade union in Peru desperately need financial help to rebuild their homes, offices and their lives following recent devastating floods and landslides in Peru.    Communication with the affected areas is difficult due to power cuts and phone lines being down, but we have been told that in the city of Piura, at least a dozen SITAG members have lost their homes, and the union office has collapsed, while in the Province of Viru and its...
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