Background: Anneth is a non-union member who works on the St Peter plantation, owned by Del Monte Corporation, in the South Atlantic zone of Costa Rica. Del Monte and their subsidiary ‘Pindeco’ together produce approximately 50% of the Costa Rican pineapples found on European supermarket shelves.
“I worked in the pineapple packing plant. I was one month pregnant when I was sacked; I was feeling ill so I went to the bathroom and my aunt and another workmate came with me to check I was ok. The manager overheard a conversation between us and I was then sacked 8 days later, at 8am on January 22nd 2010.
I couldn’t just accept that I had been sacked and not do anything about it; it’s against the law for a woman to be dismissed for being pregnant so I decided to make an appeal to the Del Monte management and a member of the Permanent Committee. They threatened me that if I take the case to the Ministry of labour they would sack all of my family that are still working on the plantation.
It was a difficult decision but 15 days later I decided to go to the Ministry of Labour in Guapiles to make a denunciation, even though my partner didn’t want me to in case other members of our families would lose their jobs. When I got to the Ministry they told me they couldn’t see me because they only see pregnant women on Fridays!
That very evening at 10pm I had a miscarriage and lost my baby, there was lots of blood, it was awful (crying). The next day I when I went to the doctor and he said I lost my baby due to the stress I was being put under. They also referred me to a psychologist.
I was really distressed and upset but I needed a job so I phoned the company to see if I could have my job back now that I was no longer pregnant. The response from management was ‘how can you come back to work when you can’t even keep your own baby’ ‘You’re not good for anything, just for the kitchen.’
I’m not the same women anymore. I don’t want any other women to go through the same as me, it was all so ugly. They threatened not only me but also my family. Three of my family members are still working there and I know they will all be sacked. It was on March 11th when they sacked my aunty - a single mum with two kids.
They simply don’t wont women in the packing plants. The bosses say that men are stronger and quicker so make more profit; ‘they don’t have problems at home, they don’t take maternity leave, they don’t get sick as often’. The women workers suffer discrimination and abuse all the time. One example is when one of my workmates dropped one of the pineapples off the conveyor belt. When she bent down to pick it up the boss came up to her from behind, grabbed her and pulled her against him and then put his hands on her genitals and was pretending to have sex with her from behind, in front of everyone working in the packing plant.”
30th February 2010