News archive

Badly paid work will not save Guatemalans from poverty 13.03.2015
  While British unions campaigned for decent wages during Fair Pay Fortnight, Guatemala faced a threat to one of the few protections it has for workers – the minimum wage.   However, while the government pursues a race to the bottom, Guatemala’s unions are working hard to improve workers’ pay.   In one of the most violent societies in the world, the right to work at a lower minimum wage than the rest of the country is generating violence at local level, as protests mount on both sides of a key national debate over regional and sectoral minimum wages.   Despite the Guatemalan trade union...
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Tacon has teeth!! 05.02.2015
The decision by Groceries Code Adjudicator. Christine Tacon, to fully investigate Tesco's treatment of suppliers is welcomed by Banana Link. It demonstrates the value of legislation to control the buying power of retail giants whose behaviour directly effects the livelihoods of millions of small farmers and workers around the world. The next step is to ensure that similar legal controls – and penalties – can be established by the European Commission as called for by the Make Fruit Fair campaign. Read full Guardian report and 'Suppliers scared to blow the whistle on supermarkets' - results of...
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25th November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 07.01.2015
COLSIBA:  An international call for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, particularly for those who work every day in Latin America's agro-industry. This includes banana, pineapple, flower, sugar cane, asparagus and mango plantations amongst others. Women experience lack of employment, discrimination in the workplace, low wages, sexual harassment and trade union persecution. History   On the 25th November 1960 in the Dominican Republic, on the orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo the three Mirabal sisters were killed.  In 1981 the first Latin American...
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New CBA in Panama 07.01.2015
On 2 November 2014, after a long and turbulent process of collective bargaining lasting 19 months, the Union of Labourers of the Banana Industry and Agricultural Associations (SITRAIBANA) and the transnational banana company, Chiquita Brands, signed a new Collective Agreement. The agreement has now come into affect and will last for four years.   “The negotiation process has been rather complicated, but we finally managed to reach an agreement. Despite the fact that the salary increase obtained does not meet our expectations, the most important thing for us was to get rid of the company’s...
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Banana industry takes steps towards living wage 15.12.2014
Oxfam have published a recent report detailing that steps are being taken in the right direction for securing a living wage in global supply chains. Although progressive coorporate codes incorporated a living wage in the late 90s, it has taken until now for companies to give serious consideration to payment of a living wage in their own operation and supply chains. Influenced by the increasing momentum of living wage campaigns, the issue of 'fairer pay' has become one of a reptutational risk and companies have begun to take positive action.  In the retail sector, GAP has committed to raise...
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Ecuadorian bananas a ‘force’ in new Chinese province 15.12.2014
    Ecuadorian bananas are gaining ground in China, with the recent launch of a new retail promotional campaign in a province exporters hadn’t accessed before.     The fruit will now be sold in certain Pin He Tang supermarkets in the central Hunan province under the slogan ‘The best bananas in the world come from the other side of the world’.     The Pro Ecuador team   The campaign was launched on Nov. 21 and is being conducted in three large branches of the chain – one of which is the biggest supermarket in the provincial capital Changsha, where eight million people live.   Ecuadorian...
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Costa Rica is introducing a National Day for Banana Workers 08.12.2014
Great news! Costa Rica will institute the 9th of August of each year as the National Day for Banana Workers.   The draft bill was presented to the Legislative Assembly on 7th August and enjoys the majority support of parliamentary groups.   ”It represents an acknowledgement of the important contributions that banana workers have made to the economy, to social guarantees and to employment rights of our country in spite of their historical struggles,”, explained Didier Leiton Valverde, general secretary of the Agricultural Plantation Workers Union, SITRAP, in conversation with la Rel.   The...
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14,000 sickened banana workers to receive payment for pesticide exposure 08.12.2014
Pictured: Workers in the February 2000 protest in San José against the use of the pesticide Nemagon and asking for government assistance for health concerns resulting from exposure. Teresita Chavarría/AFP  After 14 years, Costa Rica finally has a regulation guaranteeing payment of physical and psychological damages for nearly 14,000 banana workers who were exposed to the banned pesticide Nemagon. The decree by President Luis Guillermo Solís was published in the government newspaper La Gaceta on Monday, the last step before a law can go into effect.   Between 1967 and 1979, thousands of...
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Report shows imbalances in agricultural supply chains 25.11.2014
With ten brands accounting for 15 percent of world food sales, and five  retailers controlling half the European marketplace, the risks associated with the food supply chain being captured by just a few companies means that abusive trade practices as well as governance needs to be addressed. Globally, 7 billion consumers are being supplied by 2.5 billion farmers with most of the value of the chain (up to 86%) in the hands of increasingly powerful companies.Fiona Gooch, policy adviser at Traidcraft: “The relentless pressure on  suppliers, degradation of living conditions of farmers and workers...
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Tax on Costa Rican pineapples? 25.11.2014
If the proposal by Costa Rica's Frente Amplio party , Broad Front, proves successful, each crate of exported pineapples will be subject to a tax of 540 Costa Rican colones in accordance with the exchange rate set by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. Local councils will be responsible for investing the income generated into environmental protection and education, targeted at the areas where pineapple plantations are located. The draft bill was put forward by the parliamentary representative Eduardo Araya, who highlighted the great benefits enjoyed by the pineapple industry, and argued that...
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