My name is Alan Rafael Garcia Socola. I am a nurse technician. At the moment I am unable to practice my profession because unfortunately where I live there are few hospitals, clinics, or appropriate places for me to work. Currently, I am working with a company that exports organic bananas called Cepibo.
Alan Rafael Garcia Socola, CEPIBO (Fairtrade)
I am working hard and struggling. We all started off being paid very low wages. The company does not observe Sundays as days of rest. We are not paid overtime. We do not get paid a family bonus. We do not get productivity bonuses, when we work more than requested. They do not observe one single day off, not even for birthdays.
We are continuously battling so that we get a better pay. However, when we make demands to improve our conditions we immediately face opposition from the management. We get rejected and shuffled around like cards, never giving us any real attention.
We get paid according to the individual days we work. Currently each day we get approximately 25 soles. A day according to the company is 8 hours, but this is not true. In reality, we leave our houses at 4 or 5am in the morning and we return around 6pm. Yes, we begin work at 7am, but one has to factor in the time we spent travelling to work.
We do not get proper transport. Most of the time we are transported along with the materials they use on the plantations. This is very hazardous to our health.
My demand as a worker is to be paid accordingly. We work because we have the need to earn a living, so if we work we should get paid appropriately. I just ask that we get paid as we should, enough so we can survive, so we can provide for our children, our families, to support others.
European consumers are probably painted a pretty picture of our work, and they probably think that we are being treated well. My message to European consumers is to urge them to demand the companies from which they buy their bananas to treat their workers well, to recognize what is due to them, and to not exploit them. That is all.
Photo: Barbora Mrazkova, Nazemi, Czech Republic