News archive

Collective Bargaining brings benefits for plantation workers in Honduras 18.09.2019
Negotiations between trade unions and employers have concluded with collective agreements that will see benefits for workers at two separate banana plantations in Honduras.      The Union of Workers of the Bananera Rio Mame SA (SITRABARIMASA) has signed its ninth collective agreement with the multinational company Dole, which, following good faith negotiations, will provide considerable improvements for workers.     The president of the union, Eduardo Min Montoya said “we managed to maintain the medical service, which has been a cause of conflict in other companies, and achieved a wage...
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Banana workers union strikes above inflation pay deal in Colombia 13.09.2019
Colombian trade union Sintrainagro yesterday concluded negotiations with banana producers Augura, which will see 22,000 plantation workers receive an above inflation pay deal in the the world’s fourth-largest banana exporting country.   With inflation currently at 3.75%, and predicted to drop to 3.30% next year, the workers will receive an effective pay increase of 5.5% in the first year of the two year pay deal, while in the second year they will receive a rise equivalent to the increase in the Cost of Living Index. Additionally, each worker who is a member of Sintrainagro will receive a one...
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Dole provides facilities to support laid off workers’ cooperative 22.08.2019
In January this year tropical fruit producer Dole closed its maintenance workshop in port of Limón, Costa Rica, laying off 240 workers. But in a welcome move in an area of high unemployment, the multinational has agreed to loan its workshop facilities to an engineering maintenance cooperative set up by the laid off workers. The Coopesitraco R.L is made up of 124 of the former Dole employees and has signed an agreement that provides them with a one-year loan of the facilities of the Dole workshop to launch its business maintaining and repairing containers, trucks, cargo cranes at the Moín...
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TR4 confirmed in Colombia as country declares "national emergency" 09.08.2019
The Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) has this week confirmed the presence of the banana disease Fusarium Wilt tropical race IV (TR4) in the country and has declared a national emergency with additional controls to mitigate the risk of contagion to other farms. "We are declaring a national emergency, despite the disease [only] being confirmed in La Guajira, in order to speed up the process of controlling the disease," said ICA) general manager Deyanira Barrero León during a news conference. She emphasized that banana exports would continue, as the fruit can still be consumed normally and...
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Is fair trade finished? 24.07.2019
Fairtrade changed the way we shop. But major companies have started to abandon it and set up their own in-house imitations – threatening the very idea of fair trade.   We reproduce below this article from The Guardian by By Samanth Subramanian   It wasn’t very long ago that a banana was just a banana – just a curved, yellow fruit. All you knew, if you bought a bunch in 1986, was that they cost around 97p per kilo. You weren’t told if they were organic or pesticide-free. You didn’t know if they came from Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic. And you certainly weren’t invited to worry about the...
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Union negotiates significant improvements for workers at Dole Ecuador 18.07.2019
Workers at Dole’s Megabanana plantation division in Babahoyo, Los Ríos, Ecuador will see better benefits and rights than other plantation workers in the country, thanks to a new collective contract just signed between the company and the Comité de Empresa de Los Trabajadores de La Compañía Megabanana S.A, the trade union work council and bargaining agent under Ecuadorian law.   The two year agreement, reached with the participation of the Minister of Labour, will see improvements to wages (above the country’s minimum wage), working hours, overtime payments and holidays, in particular:   A...
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Sumitomo sells its stake in Sumifru Philippines amid allegations of labour rights abuses 08.07.2019
Japanese Corporation, Sumitomo, announced recently its intention to sell its 49 percent stake in Philippines banana producer Sumifru, to it's partner in the joint venture, Thornton Venture Ltd.    The announcement comes at a time when Sumitomo, who last year bought Irish fruit giant Fyffes, is under fire over a labour dispute and rights abuses on its plantations in the Philippines.    At a recent news conference in Tokyo, representatives of the plantation workers' union, Namasufa, accused Sumifru Philippines Corp. of failing to “regularize” its workers, and of harassment following a strike...
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Guatemalan workers share burden with Del Monte after destruction 08.07.2019
On 29th May, severe winds destroyed over 80% of production at two of the eight plantations owned by Del Monte’s Guatemalan subsidiary, Bandegua, in the Northern province of Izabál. The same storm did serious damage to two other plantations, including workers’ housing and farm infrastructure.   The company informed the SITRABI workers’ union that their insurance no longer covered such climatic phenomena and proposed a long series of cost-saving measures to fund the rehabilitation of the destroyed plantations which the union considered to be excessive.     However, during a negotiation meeting...
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What are supermarkets doing to tackle human suffering in their supply chains? 02.07.2019
Last year, Oxfam embarked on a campaign asking 16 supermarkets to take responsibility for ending human suffering in their food supply chains. A year on, Monica Romis asks, what has changed?  Slow progress to respect human rights  The 2019 Supermarket Scorecard shows that, while some are doing better than others, all supermarkets lack sufficient policies to properly protect the people who produce our food. No supermarket does even 40% of what the Oxfam benchmark asks them to.    Eight of the 16 companies, including Lidl, Plus and Whole Foods, have made little to no improvement at all,...
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New international labour standard to combat violence and harassment at work agreed 27.06.2019
The Centenary International Labour Conference has adopted a new Convention and Recommendation to combat violence and harassment in the workplace. The Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019, and Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019 recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work “can constitute a human rights violation or abuse…is a threat to equal opportunities, is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.” It defines “violence and harassment” as behaviours, practices or threats “that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or...
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