General Secretary of the Izabal Banana Workers' Union, Guatemala visits UK

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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 Executive Committee was forced at gun point to resign their posts and call off strike action over contract violations.

Guatemala is the second most dangerous Latin American country in which to be a trade unionist, and SITRABI has been devastated by a series of assassinations since Noé's brother was killed in 2007. Since then, nine members of SITRABI have been murdered. None of the murders have been properly investigated by the authorities.

Despite this, SITRABI has been successful in managing to maintain collective bargaining and workers have managed to secure many of the elements of 'Decent Work'.

The Latin America 2015 Conference brings together political leaders, trade unionists, NGOs, academics & progressive movements to explore recent developments across the region, along with films, music and exhibitions showcasing Latin American culture. As well as Noé, other speakers at the conference will include William Blum, author ‘Rogue State’ & ‘America’s Deadliest Export’, Veronica Rojas, Nicaraguan Government Vice Minister, the Ambassadors of Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Chile, Bolivia and Nicaragua, Jeremy Corbyn MP and Ken Livingstone.

For more information and to buy tickets visit

Noe's visit has been funded by Unite, UNISON, GMB, UCU and Aslef.