News archive

Fyffes accused of disrespecting plantation workers' rights 12.02.2016
The GMB trade union has called for Fyffes to be thrown out of the UK Government's Ethical Trade Initiative, which promotes labour rights, over reports of abuses by subsidiaries of Fyffes in Costa Rica and Honduras. Banana Link, also an ETI member, has said “We absolutely hear the frustration from unions on the ground. We’re keen to engage in dialogue with Fyffes in the hope that they’ll speak to unions on the ground.” Read the full story here: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/11/fyffes-accused-disrespec... Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian
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European Commission fails to act on Unfair Trading Practices in banana supply chains 04.02.2016
A recently published report by the European Commission (EC) on Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) in the food supply chain, has failed to propose legislation to tackle problems in the banana supply chain which have been highlighted by the Europe-wide Make Fruit Fair! campaign, in which Banana Link plays a central role. Instead, the EC has passed responsibility to a voluntary initiative set up by the private sector and to EU Member States.    Banana Link and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office had published a report last October - Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading...
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Banana Link featured in the fight to save the Cavendish banana 28.01.2016
UK media have carried a number of reports in recent days about the threat of Panana disease to the existence of the Cavendish banana. A number of the reports have quoted Banana Link's International Co-ordinator, Alistair Smith, who explained that "It's a huge issue for growers who have already been affected in places like the Philippines but awareness is only now growing in the Americas who are yet to be hit. The potential for devastation if it does reach them is almost total."   Alistair was interviewed by Norwich based Mustard TV - you can watch the interview here.   National media coverage...
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Positive developments in response to ANEXCO urgent action appeal 11.01.2016
Further to the update in November on our Urgent Action appeal in support of SINTRAPEM union members at Costa Rican pineapple producer ANEXCO, we can report some recent developments, which we hope indicate that a satisfactory resolution to the grievances of union members will be possible.   We can report that:   1. The Costa Rican Labour Ministry has offered to provide a mediator to facilitate local dialogue between the union and ANEXCO management over the grievances raised by union members.   2. The union and ANEXCO management are engaged in discussion of the terms on which the three workers...
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Pressure to improve health and safety practices in the banana industry 04.01.2016
Banana Link in collaboration with the CGT union confederations of France and Guadeloupe and Latin American Banana & Agroindustrial Workers’ Union Coordinating Body COLSIBA are pressing governments in Latin America and Europe to ratify an important ILO convention that would be a step to improving respect for decent occupational health and safety practices in the global banana industry. Convention 184 on Health and Safety in Agriculture has only been signed by one banana exporting country (Ghana) and very few European countries. We are hopeful that in 2016 we will see ratifications by at...
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Gender equity in the banana industry - a global women's strategy meeting 16.12.2015
Women representatives directly involved in banana production and from civil society, including members and partners of EUROBAN, recently met in Bonn, Germany to share experiences of the challenges facing women in the industry and initiatives to empower women to improve their conditions.    The goal of the meeting was to develop collective strategies to achieve gender equity in banana export production, with the specific objectives of:  • Sharing experiences between women directly involved in banana export production • Ensuring that the experiences of women workers and small holders, and the...
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Labour law package welcomed by Costa Rican unions 16.12.2015
After many years of debates both inside and outside the Parliament, a package of reforms designed to speed up the labour tribunal system and give more rights to trade unions was finally approved by legislators in San José on 14th December.   The package voted this week - by all but two of the members present - only differs in one aspect from the package approved in 2012 that was subsequently vetoed by then President Laura Chinchilla: it does not include a clause that would allow strikes in essential public services. This thorny issue was excluded from the package and will be tackled in...
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Ecuador to join Andean – EU Free Trade Agreement 08.12.2015
The European Parliament voted by a large majorrity to allow Ecuador to join the Free Trade Agreement it has with Colombia and Peru. The Parliament heard from Ecuador’s trade minister of the major progress made in reducing poverty and in investing some 40 billion dollars in social development over the last eight years. The deal means that the tariff Ecuadorian bananas pay to enter the EU will be reduced to 75 euros/tonne by 2020 – the same level as for Colombia and Peru.   The EP approved Ecuador’s accession to the Agreement provided that the country agrees to a number of measures on issues...
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An uncertain future for banana workers in Belize as Fyffes pulls out from Mayan King 08.12.2015
Mayan King, the largest banana producer in Belize, abruptly ceased operations in October when the Irish fruit company Fyffes stopped importing Mayan King bananas due to fear of economic sanctions from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In 2012, OFAC designated Mayan King owner John Zabaneh a Drug Kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for his alleged connections to Mexican fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and associated Colombian drug cartels.   Despite the installation of a managerial company, Meridian...
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The human cost of cheap bananas - the impact of unfair trading practices 12.11.2015
A new report for the Make Fruit Fair! campaign shows how increasing market power and Unfair Trading Practices of European supermarkets affect banana small farmers and plantation workers. Banana workers and small farmers in developing countries are exposed to toxic agro-chemicals, earn poverty level wages and work in a climate of fear, reveals the report “Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading Practices - October 2015” published today by Banana Link and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office FTAO. The report also shows how European supermarkets contribute to this...
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