Make Fruit Fair in Africa

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Securing Decent Work in tropical fruit export production

Banana Link is campaigning to Make Fruit Fair in Africa! 

Between 2013 and 2016, Banana link worked with the Fako Agricultural Workers Union (FAWU) in Cameroon and General Agricultural Workers Union of Ghana (GAWU) to educate and empower workers and their unions to negotiate living wages and improved conditions on banana and pineapple plantations. 

Poor wages, debt, long hours and hazardous working conditions

 
Bananas constitute the fifth largest export earner for Cameroon, exporting to Europe, mainly to France and the UK. Workers on plantations in Cameroon suffer from poor wages that don't meet their basic living costs, leaving them in poverty which leads many into spiralling debt, while working long hours in hazardous conditions, with poor protection from illness and injury.

 

Education programme for union representatives and workers

 
To address these problems, Banana Link’s Securing Decent Work in tropical fruit export production project has delivered an education programme for trade union representatives and workers to help them understand their rights and negotiate better wages and working conditions. 
 

Measurable benefits

 
Research conducted in Ghana throughout the project demonstrates that it has delivered measurable benefits in six important aspects of workers’ lives: income, working hours, labour rights, work-related accidents, provision of protective clothing and child care. Among other things:
  • 5000 workers have received education to understand and know how to secure their basic labour rights, including health and safety and how their union can pursue a grievance on their behalf
  • In Ghana, GAWU has successfully bargained for pay rises with a number of employers, enabling  more workers to be able to cover their basic needs than a year ago
  • In Cameroon FAWU has successfully negotiated an earlier close of 6pm on 4 out of 14 farms and hopes to see this practice introduced for all banana workers
 
The following research reports show the full extent of the measurable improvements in each country:

Securing Decent Work in Tropical Fruit Export Production: An analysis of working and living conditions in banana plantations in Cameroon

Securing Decent Work in Tropical Fruit Export Production: An analysis of working and living conditions in banana and pineapple plantations in Ghana

In the video below, workers and union officials talk about how they have benefitted from this training programme.
 
 
 

Ways you can get involved:

 
1. Subscribe to our Make Fruit Fair newsletter to take part in online actions in defence of workers’ rights, receive our newsletter and campaign for the regulation of supermarket buying power.
2. Encourage your local shop, café and other outlets to stock or use Fairtrade fruit. Contact us for a list of Fairtrade wholesalers.
3. Ask Banana Link to attend Fairtrade and trade justice events – we can give talks, run workshops, and provide education packs.
 

Further reading