News archive

EMERGENCY APPEAL: Caribbean Fairtrade banana farmers savaged by storms at Christmas 22.01.2014
Torrential rains and severe winds battered the Caribbean Islands of St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica for over 24 hours between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day devastating rural communities and banana production. The government has declared this a level 2 disaster, meaning that they now need external support to respond to the destruction caused by the storm. Our partner, the Caribbean Farmer's Association, WINFA, are appealing for help on behalf of the estimated 700 small farmers affected. Floods and landslides severely damaged roads, bridges, sanitation supplies and...
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Defending workers’ rights in banana plantations in Guatemala 13.01.2014
Banana Link, in partnership with TUC Aid, is helping unions in banana plantations in Guatemala to build capacity to defend workers’ rights. Below is a report on recent progress and the latest successful activities organised under the joint initiative, published in the TUC “International Development Matters” e-bulletin this month: “TUC Aid, in partnership with Banana Link, is building the capacity of trade unions in the banana plantations in Guatemala through a programme of training and education. The first training workshop organised under the joint initiative launched [in early 2013] took...
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Honduran banana shippers faces US ban 17.12.2013
The Federation of Agribusiness Trade Unions says 13 producers have been ‘de-certified’ for labour rights violations and cannot now ship bananas to the US.According to reports in the Honduran Press the ban follows a report by the Rainforest Alliance, which visited the country in early November. Singled out for criticism was the ‘Las Tres Hermanas’ plantation, which is where the delegation found the worst abuses of labour rights. Union federation Festagro is the new name for Cosibah, which was formed in 1994 to protect workers’ rights. Source: Reefer Trends © 2000 - 2013
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Global Banana Industry moves forward on living wages 02.12.2013
Commitment from an increasingly critical mass of retail, fruit company, trade union, governmental and certifier stakeholders involved in Latin American and African banana trade chains to actually implement change on the ground in banana exporting countries now looks irreversible.The aim is two-fold: to gradually 'fill the gap' between national minimum wages and living wages, by supporting mechanisms that deliver higher minimum wages for all workers; and, through dialogue and negotiation, to raise actual wages to living wage levels.The proof of the pudding is of course in the eating - on the...
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CRISIS, WHAT CRISIS?! UK retail continues to bury its head on banana pricing 05.11.2013
British retail buyers are acutely aware that the price wars (and 'promises') on their biggest food line cannot continue much longer. They are aware that selling loose bananas at 68p per kilo is destroying banana value for producers and workers worldwide. They are also aware that producers' costs continue to rise faster than the gradual reduction in banana import tariffs into the EU. They are aware that decent work in these chains is a goal that is put on hold as long as bananas are bought and sold too cheaply.But so far none of them has managed to convince the commercial leadership of their...
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Women workers gaining ground in Cameroon 05.11.2013
As part of our three year Comic Relief funded project, ‘Secure Decent Work in tropical fruit production’, in West Africa, we have just run a successful workshop in Cameroon to raise awareness of gender issues among staff representatives so that they can ensure issues affecting women in the workplace are addressed. The workshop, which involved 137 participants, 31 of whom were women, highlighted a number of critical issues specifically affecting women. These included pregnant women having to board the same cramped transport to the plantations as other workers, maternity leave being too short,...
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Is Noboa close to bankruptcy? 14.10.2013
Exportadora Bananera Noboa, (producer of Bonita brand bananas) was the largest banana exporter in Ecuador and, until recently, one of the big five banana companies in the world, alongside Fyffes and the three US based giants, Dole, Chiquita, and Del Monte. However, the company, owned by Alvaro Noboa, now appears to be on the verge of bankruptcy.The SRI (government revenue body) has confiscated Noboa property worth $100 million in lieu of non-payment of debts from 2005 to the Inland Revenue and to workers as part of a statutory profit-sharing scheme. In May the government confiscated the giant...
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Tres Hermanas continues to stall on negotiations 14.10.2013
In the Tres Hermanas plantations in northern Honduras the battle to secure negotiations between the members of SITRAINBA and the company is far from over. The Labour Ministry tried to convene a process of conciliation between the parties, but the company still refuses any dialogue with SITRAINBA.It has therefore been impossible to prevent the company from putting in place a series of measures against SITRAINBA members in the farms: it has reduced wages to union members (some workers are earning 10% less than the minimum daily wage as a result) and threatens to fire people if they do not give...
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Two Costa Rican workers reinstated 31.07.2013
In August 2007, Albertina Muñoz Castrillo was sacked by the cassava producing company Caribbean Best S.A. in Costa Rica's Atlantic zone. A year later, the same company sacked Consuelo Soto Jiménez, alleging in the case of both women that they had committed serious faults. However, as the courts eventually demonstrated, their real 'fault', from the employer's point of view, was to have joined the SITRAP trade union.On 23rd July 2013, accompanied by the union's General Secretary, the two women went to their former workplace to claim their jobs back, as the Supreme Court had ordered. In the case...
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Camposol Peru: not the ethical champions they claim to be 31.07.2013
Peru's leading horticulture company, Camposol, laid off a large group of trade union members at their huge grape farm in Piura as part of a major retrenchment in mid-January 2013. Many of the members of SITAG-Peru had worked for the company for more than four years. The union alleged that these workers were replaced with non-union workers.However, at a meeting between the parties in April, Camposol committed itself to take back the workers they claimed they had had to lay off because of seasonal changes in working patterns. In a letter to the union on June 19th, Camposol reiterated this...
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