News archive

The banana industry in Laos: dangerous working conditions and environmental destruction 20.04.2016
For the people in the tiny Lao villages that dot the mountains in the country’s north-western border, the banana looked like a saviour. As demand for bananas in neighbouring China reached new heights, Chinese investors began crossing the border to invest in banana plantations in Laos’ impoverished Northern provinces. From 2002, when Laos produced less than 90,000 tonnes of bananas, production increased to more than 400,000 tonnes by 2013. For a time, the deal was favourable for everyone involved. Local Laotian landowners received large amounts of cash in exchange for renting out their land,...
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Abuses including dismissals in agro-export company TALSA 19.04.2016
Amalia Antúnez In Montevideo, Perú UNIONS AGRICULTURE With Juan Herrera “The harassment is never ending” Peruvian anti-union blueberries   The agro-industrial company TALSA is located in the north of Peru in the La Libertad region and specialises in blueberry and asparagus production, among other products. On the 8 March, it arbitrarily dismissed all of the SITETSA trade union's Executive Committee. La Rel spoke with Juan Herrera Huanca (pictured), president of FENTRAIR federation (Federación Nacional de Trabajadores del Sector Agrario, Industria, Riego and Similares) which represents the...
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International Women's Day: Reflections from Colombia 12.04.2016
Colombia TRADE UNIONS FOR WOMEN  International Women’s Day With Adela Torres "Let’s make the 8th of March a day of demands". Respect, justice and equity. Last Sunday, March 6th, the National Union of Workers in Agricultural Industries (Sintrainagro) held a mass meeting of women in the municipality of Apartadó, as part of the celebration of International Women’s Day. La Rel talked to Adela Torres, national General Secretary of the Union.   -What is your verdict on last Sunday’s meeting?  It was a very good meeting, with a great gathering of women who packed the local union hall.  It was very...
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Peruvian agro-export company TALSA dismisses whole union committee – act now! 05.04.2016
All nine members of the executive committee of the SITETSA (Sindicato De Trabajadores Empresa Talsa) union were sacked in February this year by their employers, the agribusiness company TALSA in Peru. Two former union members were also dismissed.   TALSA denies the legal existence, not only of the union committee, but also of the FENTRAIR federation (Federacion Nacional De Trabajadores Del Sector Agrario, Industria, Riego y Similares Del Peru) to which SITETSA belongs.   These dismissals occurred at the time when negotiations should have begun to renew the Collective Bargaining Agreement...
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Report of Labour rights abuses in Peru export industries 05.04.2016
The US Department of Labour (DOL) has published a report in response to a complaint filed under the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) by ILRF (International Labour Rights Forum - an American workers' rights advocacy group) and Peruvian trade unions about persistent, widespread labour abuses.   Under Peru's Non-Traditional Export Promotion (NTEP) law it is perfectly legal for companies to hire workers on short-term, temporary contracts that can be renewed indefinitely. Employers regularly use this practice to bust unions: if workers attempt to organize to improve wages and working...
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GMB Calls For Fyffes To Pay Workers A Living Wage 02.03.2016
Fyffes has increased its profit margin by exploiting a culture of impunity in Honduras and taking advantage of weak regulation in Costa Rica, says GMB   GMB is calling for Fyffes, the Irish multinational fruit company, to improve working conditions for Honduran and Costa Rican plantation and farm workers and to pay them a living wage.    At an advisory meeting to the EU-Central America Association Agreement on March 1st, Bert Schouwenburg, one of 3 European trade union representatives, condemned Fyffes behaviour on its Honduran melon plantations and Costa Rican pineapple farms. See notes to...
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Lidl switch to sustainable bananas. Will it make a difference? 16.02.2016
Discount suppermarket Lidl has announced that it is to stock only bananas certified by the NGO Rainforest Alliance, joining Asda that already does so, and Tesco, which could follow suit soon. In addition, the Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose already stock only Fairtrade or organic bananas. However, although the UK may be the biggest market in the world for Fairtrade, organic and other certified bananas, it still has one of the lowest retail prices in the northern hemisphere. Meaning that producers are struggling to invest in working conditions and wages. Quoted in the Guardian, Banana Link...
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Fyffes accused of disrespecting 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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