News archive

Andy Hall: a human rights defender who should never have been prosecuted 11.11.2014
 British labour rights researcher Andy Hall was acquitted on the 29th of October by the Phrakanong Provincial Court, Bangkok, when it dismissed charges of criminal defamation in relation to his work to expose labour rights violations. Regional human rights specialist and barrister Mark Plunkett of Brisbane, Australia, monitored the trial on behalf of the London-based International Centre for Trade Union Rights.     Plunkett said ‘this is a good result.  Hall is clearly a human rights defender engaged in legitimate work to investigate the conditions of migrant workers.  The work that Hall was...
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Costa Rica to compensate Nemagon victims 05.11.2014
Banana workers and their families exposed to Nemagon in the 1960s and 1970s will receive government compensation. The Costa Rican government has said that it will offer compensation to around 12,000 banana plantation workers and their families who were exposed to pesticides during the 1960s and 1970s.According to the Associated Free Press, those suffering from the lingering effects of the chemical Nemagon will have their medical bills paid for, as well as receiving other compensation.Announcing the decision, vice-president Ana Gabriel Zuniga said the payments represented a "historical debt"...
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Lawmaker calls for moratorium on pineapple plantations; new tax on exports 04.11.2014
Frente Amplio (FA) lawmaker, Edgardo Araya, along with several groups representing communities that claim to have suffered from environmental and other damage due to pineapple production, have presented a draft decree that would put a moratorium on the expansion of monoculture pineapple plantations for the next five years.Araya said that such plantations have caused significant environmental damage as well as serious harm to the health of people living in nearby communities, and that such plantations and growers have operated with impunity.The lawmaker is also calling for a new one-dollar-per...
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Haiti invests big in bananas 21.10.2014
Two million seedlings of organic bananas are to be planted over a thousand hectares as part of the launch of the Agritrans Project.This project, which brings together over 3,000 farmers from different associations, aims to produce organic bananas for export. To achieve its objectives, the FEPA/Agritrans consortium has modern agricultural equipment, pumps for irrigation, an artificial lake with a capacity of 700.000 gallons and plans to create about 3,000 jobs. The Government, through the Industrial Development Fund (IDF), made $6m available to the developer of this innovative and ambitious...
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Philippines: Government mulls moratorium on pineapple and banana farm expansion 07.10.2014
The Region 10 office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking at a two-pronged approach of imposing a moratorium on the expansion of commercial crop plantations and strengthening upland rice programs to attain food sufficiency in Northern Mindanao. Banana and pineapple, two of the top ten agricultural export commodities, are two commercial crops that will be affected by the moratorium. In 2013, Region 10 produced 1.74 million metric tons of bananas and 1.34 MT of pineapple, most of which were shipped out to the foreign market.Several rice fields have already been converted to...
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France bans aerial pesticide spraying in overseas territories 07.10.2014
France has recently announced an extensive ban on the aerial spraying of pesticides throughout its territories, focused predominantly on maize and banana farms in the West Indies.The ban was approved by France’s Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal and will take immediate effect.The ban will then be extended to rice and grape crops as of Dec. 31 next year, giving farmers time to adopt alternative application methods.Aerial spraying is said to have become increasing unpopular for some time now, with complaints from residents living near the farms coupled with environmental concerns.In a release,...
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Low cost, low wages 07.10.2014
A video exposing the difference in price between pre-packaged and loose bananas has gone viral with over 2 million hits.Alan Hudson was shopping at his local Asda supermarket when he decided to weigh a bag of pre-packaged bananas in order to check if he was getting a good deal.  Hudson said he was ‘disgusted’ to find out that the £1 bag of pre-packaged bananas would cost 54p if bought loose and left him feeling ‘ripped off’.  Asda have justified the difference in price by saying that the pre-packaged bananas are ready to eat and are all packed by hand, whereas the loose banana require...
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US take Guatemala to arbitration for anti-union violence 23.09.2014
Unprecedented decision could be a game-changer for Guatemalan workersIt took over six years of a tortuous and hard fought legal battle, but Guatemalan workers have finally reasons to celebrate. Today the United States has agreed to take Guatemala to international arbitration for violating workers´ rights under the DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement). It is the very first time in history that one country has sought international arbitration against another for a violation of labour standards.The dispute started back in April 2008, when six Guatemalan unions and...
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Mozambique banana exports increase 16.09.2014
In 2013 Mozambique exported an estimated 100k MT of bananas with South Africa as the principle export destination.    The export of bananas produced in Mozambique earned over US$70m last year, according to Antonio Gomes, vice-president of the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA) with responsibility of the agricultural business. Mr Gomes said that on a weekly basis 80 trucks travel south with bananas for sale in South Africa, equivalent to 2K MT, thus totaling 100K MT per annum.   As a result of improvements in fruit harvesting and quality, the sale price has risen he said. Earlier...
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Cameroon to increase minimum wage 16.09.2014
After several days of negotiation, the Cameroonian government and representatives of employers and workers finally reached consensus on July 17 for the increase of the national minimum wage.   According to authorised sources at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the minimum wage will be raised from 28,000 FCFA to 36,270 FCFA, which is an increase of 8,000 FCFA. Parties on both sides have suggested that all that is left to make it official is regulatory action. However, this increase is far below the 150,000 FCFA proposed by the 12-union coalition or the 62,000 FCFA eventually...
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