News archive

Positive developments in response to ANEXCO urgent action appeal 11.01.2016
Further to the update in November on our Urgent Action appeal in support of SINTRAPEM union members at Costa Rican pineapple producer ANEXCO, we can report some recent developments, which we hope indicate that a satisfactory resolution to the grievances of union members will be possible.   We can report that:   1. The Costa Rican Labour Ministry has offered to provide a mediator to facilitate local dialogue between the union and ANEXCO management over the grievances raised by union members.   2. The union and ANEXCO management are engaged in discussion of the terms on which the three workers...
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Pressure to improve health and safety practices in the banana industry 04.01.2016
Banana Link in collaboration with the CGT union confederations of France and Guadeloupe and Latin American Banana & Agroindustrial Workers’ Union Coordinating Body COLSIBA are pressing governments in Latin America and Europe to ratify an important ILO convention that would be a step to improving respect for decent occupational health and safety practices in the global banana industry. Convention 184 on Health and Safety in Agriculture has only been signed by one banana exporting country (Ghana) and very few European countries. We are hopeful that in 2016 we will see ratifications by at...
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Gender equity in the banana industry - a global women's strategy meeting 16.12.2015
Women representatives directly involved in banana production and from civil society, including members and partners of EUROBAN, recently met in Bonn, Germany to share experiences of the challenges facing women in the industry and initiatives to empower women to improve their conditions.    The goal of the meeting was to develop collective strategies to achieve gender equity in banana export production, with the specific objectives of:  • Sharing experiences between women directly involved in banana export production • Ensuring that the experiences of women workers and small holders, and the...
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Labour law package welcomed by Costa Rican unions 16.12.2015
After many years of debates both inside and outside the Parliament, a package of reforms designed to speed up the labour tribunal system and give more rights to trade unions was finally approved by legislators in San José on 14th December.   The package voted this week - by all but two of the members present - only differs in one aspect from the package approved in 2012 that was subsequently vetoed by then President Laura Chinchilla: it does not include a clause that would allow strikes in essential public services. This thorny issue was excluded from the package and will be tackled in...
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Ecuador to join Andean – EU Free Trade Agreement 08.12.2015
The European Parliament voted by a large majorrity to allow Ecuador to join the Free Trade Agreement it has with Colombia and Peru. The Parliament heard from Ecuador’s trade minister of the major progress made in reducing poverty and in investing some 40 billion dollars in social development over the last eight years. The deal means that the tariff Ecuadorian bananas pay to enter the EU will be reduced to 75 euros/tonne by 2020 – the same level as for Colombia and Peru.   The EP approved Ecuador’s accession to the Agreement provided that the country agrees to a number of measures on issues...
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An uncertain future for banana workers in Belize as Fyffes pulls out from Mayan King 08.12.2015
Mayan King, the largest banana producer in Belize, abruptly ceased operations in October when the Irish fruit company Fyffes stopped importing Mayan King bananas due to fear of economic sanctions from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In 2012, OFAC designated Mayan King owner John Zabaneh a Drug Kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for his alleged connections to Mexican fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and associated Colombian drug cartels.   Despite the installation of a managerial company, Meridian...
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The human cost of cheap bananas - the impact of unfair trading practices 12.11.2015
A new report for the Make Fruit Fair! campaign shows how increasing market power and Unfair Trading Practices of European supermarkets affect banana small farmers and plantation workers. Banana workers and small farmers in developing countries are exposed to toxic agro-chemicals, earn poverty level wages and work in a climate of fear, reveals the report “Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading Practices - October 2015” published today by Banana Link and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office FTAO. The report also shows how European supermarkets contribute to this...
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ANEXCO harasses and fires union members - update on our Urgent Action 05.11.2015
Thank you for supporting our recent urgent action appeal in support of union members at Costa Rican pineapple producer ANEXCO. More than 23​,000 emails have been sent to the company, calling on them to end harrassment of union members and to engage in constructive dialogue with the union SINTRAPEM (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores/as del Sector Privado Empresarial). This massive effort, plus several articles in the trade press and an intervention by the UK’s Ethical Trade Initiative combined to convince Fyffes of the need to try and resolve the issues we raised.   Initially, three union...
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General Secretary of the Izabal Banana Workers' Union, Guatemala visits UK 04.11.2015
Noé Ramirez Portela, General Secretary of the Izabal Banana Workers’ Union of Guatemala (SITRABI) is visiting the UK in November and will be speaking at the Latin America 2015 Conference in London on 28 November. Noé's visit is being co-ordinated by Banana Link SITRABI is the oldest private sector union in Guatemala and represents over 4000 members in Del Monte and in Del Monte supplier farms on the Caribbean coast, and has good relations with other local unions in other multinational and national plantations. Noé was elected General Secretary of SITRABI in 2000, shortly after the union’s...
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Ecuador government supports small farmer marketing efforts 15.10.2015
Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture has established a marketing arm for small farmer produced bananas which now exports 70 000 boxes of fruit per week. Growers are paid the official minimum price and receive payments much more quickly than with most conventional exporters. The government’s Banana Trade Unit is also purchasing bananas from small farmers in El Oro province to supply the national procurement programme ProAlimentos that provides fresh fruit for schools and other public institutions. This programme is organised by Banavid, a coordinating body of small farmers’ organisations that...
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