News archive

Pineapples: The true price of luxury fruit revisited 01.05.2012
Two years on, CI’s investigation into the pineapple industry in Costa Rica is showing some signs of progress. In 2010, Consumers International (CI) reported on the true cost of the cheap and discounted pineapples found on supermarket shelves all over Europe. They now report back on what has changed. Most are grown in Costa Rica where CI’s investigation uncovered allegations of harsh working conditions from workers who struggled to survive on low wages which were periodically cut in response, they were told, to falling prices in Europe.Union leaders recounted a history of anti-union activity,...
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Supermarkets slammed for selling bananas too cheaply 24.04.2012
In its latest buyers’ guide Ethical Consumer magazine today attacks the UK’s biggest supermarkets for selling bananas too cheaply and calls on them to set a realistic price that benefits workers in the banana trade.Fierce price wars between the supermarket giants has forced down the price of loose bananas making them cheaper now than 20 years ago. Whilst shoppers have benefited from this race to the bottom, cheap bananas have spelt disaster for the four million families in the developing world who depend on the banana trade for their livelihood.Co-author of the Ethical Consumer banana buyers...
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Consumers can make a difference to conditions in the banana trade 17.04.2012
Eliana Guarani of Consumer International’s Italian member organisation Altroconsumo explores the production conditions behind the world’s most popular fruit in a newly published blog. Bananas are the world’s most popular and internationally-traded fruit. The industry is an important source of employment and income for millions of people in developing countries, but all too often is associated with negative economic, social and environmental impacts.With more and more of us concerned about the story behind the food we buy, consumer rights groups are increasingly looking at the ethics of the...
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Freedom for jailed Ivory Coast union leader Basile Mahan Gahé 12.04.2012
The ILO condemns continued detention of jailed Ivory Coast union leader Basile Mahan Gahé. Basile Gahé is the leader of the national trade union centre Dignité to which CIAGAH-CI is affiliated. CIAGAH-CI organises banana workers employed by SCB, the local subsidiary of Compagnie Fruitière, a French company, 40 % of whose shares are currently owned by Dole.The ILO has called on the government of Ivory Coast to release jailed union leader Basile Mahan Gahé. In the latest report of the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, published in connection with...
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Nicaragua: first CBA in over 20 years 10.04.2012
More than 20 years since the last collective agreement covering workers in the Nicaraguan banana industry, the Chinandega Banana Workers’ Union Federation (Fetrabach) has signed an agreement covering its members on four plantations in the country’s North West department of Chinandega. The three trade unions representing around 800 workers at the Alfonso, Angelina, Pennsilvania and San Luis plantations, all affiliated to Fetrabach, presented their petition for negotiation back in April 2011 and had to undergo 23 working sessions with the employer’s representatives before reaching a final...
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Are Chiquita bananas sustainable? 06.04.2012
Chiquita’s efforts to ‘promote social responsibility and sustainability’ have been praised in a recent Economist article that argues that the fruit giant is receiving little credit for its progress. The claim that Chiquita now produces „sustainable bananas“ is however overstated, as we are sure the company itself would admit. We do acknowledge that Chiquita, Dole and French Caribbean producers are among the big players who are beginning to make serious and concerted efforts to make their production systems more sustainable through the World Banana Forum. In practice though, it is the small...
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Philippines: Environmental opposition to banana and pineapple expansion 05.04.2012
An alliance of local government units has voiced opposition to further expansion of pineapple and banana plantations in South Cotabato, claiming that it is concerned over the environmental impacts this would have.South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy, Jr., chairman of the Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance, said the group recently passed a resolution asking the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) to deny pending requests for additional banana and pineapple plantations in T’boli after an ocular inspection of the highland municipality.The town hosts thousands of hectares of banana...
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ILO attests to climate of "total impunity" in Guatemala 29.03.2012
The Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation has today approved a report from its Committee on Freedom of Association examining a number of complaints from Guatemalan trade unions concerning violations of fundamental labour rights. "The Committee expresses its deep concern over [...] the numerous murders, murder attempts, acts of aggression, death threats, kidnappings, harassment and initimidation of trade union leaders and members, as well as over the allegations concerning the elaboration of black lists and the climate of total impunity."The Committee also regrets that the...
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Costa Rica: Pineapple companies accept dialogue with trade unions 27.03.2012
After months of discussions with the trade unions that organise workers in Costa Rica’s pineapple plantations, the National Platform for Responsible Pineapple Production and Trade is to create a Working Group to address the long-standing labour issues that have plagued the industry. Costa Rica supplies three quarters of pineapples sold in Europe and in 2010 industry conditions were exposed by Consumers International. National and multinational employers have finally agreed to a proposal from the Costa Rican Deputy Labour Minister to include the trade unions in work to try and improve social...
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Peru: union secures reinstatement of sacked workers 13.03.2012
After a series of unfair sackings over the last few months, SITAG, the trade union which represents workers in the Peruvian banana industry in the Chira Valley, has been able to secure the reinstatement of members of their branch committees who had been sacked.Five workers of the Union y Progreso Farmers’ Association laid off in January - on the pretext that their contracts could not be renewed - are to be reinstated following an appeal to the Dole subsidiary that markets the Association’s bananas to intervene. Those laid off included key members of SITAG’s branch committee.The next day, the...
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