News archive

Call to end pineapple expansion in Costa Rica 29.04.2015
The immediate establishment of a moratorium on the expansion of pineapple plantations has been applied for by the Costa Rican environmental organisation, Cedarena. This call was made before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, United States last month. Cedarena is demanding that until an independent analysis of the impact of the use of agrochemicals in the pineapple industry on public health is published, the expansion of land under pineapple production should be curbed. The hearing took place in the regular session of the Commission 154 and was a call for...
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Latin American unions building links in French Caribbean 28.04.2015
The first ever visit by Latin American worker representatives to the islands of the French Caribbean took place this week. The visit by three trade union leaders from Ecuador, Honduras and Costa Rica, representing Latin American Banana Workers' Union Coordinating Body COLSIBA, was hosted by banana workers' representatives of the CGT of Guadeloupe.    The visit to Guadeloupe launched a programme of work on occupational health & safety and pesticide reduction and is funded by the French Committee for International Solidarity. COLSIBA visitors were extremely impressed by the efforts that...
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Striking Peruvian workers attacked 28.04.2015
Several thousand workers at Northern Peruvian asparagus and artichoke company, Sociedad Agricola Viru (SAV), stopped work on April 22 in protest at what they believe is fraud by their employer. For the third year running the company declared a financial loss to revenue authorities, but the union believes this is just accounting manipulation to prevent them from sharing profits with workers.   At least two workers were injured when police in riot gear were called by the company and responded to striking workers with rubber bullets. General Secretary of the SITESAV union, Genaro Quispe Ventura...
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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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