News archive

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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Unions break off dialogue with Rainforest Alliance over labour rights 24.06.2019
Unions representing plantation workers on banana and pineapple plantations in Costa Rica have broken off dialogue with the certification body Rainforest Alliance over their failure to tackle the violation of labour rights on some certified plantations.    Banana Link has previously highlighted the lack of respect for the right of workers to join an independent trade union on Rainforest certified plantations, in our 2016 report, Rainforest Alliance and the Discount Supermarkets: Low Prices and Easy Standards? The report called on Rainforest to engage with unions in the banana sector by...
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The sad loss of a Caribbean banana farmers' champion 20.06.2019
Banana Link is saddened to hear of the passing this week in St Vincent of Wilberforce 'Wilby" Emmanuel, a former president of Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA), with whom Banana Link have worked for many years.  By way of tribute, we reproduce the article below, written by Renwick Rose, a former president of WINFA himself, and Chairperson of the Executive Board of the World Banana Forum.    “VEXED FARMER" PASSES – A GENUINE "UNSUNG HERO" We are becoming more and more accustomed to hearing the term ‘Unsung Hero’ used with the danger that it runs the risk of losing its true meaning....
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Banana Link contributing to improved conditions on Ghanaian banana plantations 19.06.2019
We reproduce below a blog item by Fairtrade International about their work, with Banana Link involvement, to achieve decent wages, gender equity, and health and safety on Fairtrade certified banana plantations in Ghana.   Working together to achieve decent wages, gender equity, and health and safety “There was no sense of ‘them and us’. The sessions felt inspiring for everyone – including local workers, their unions, company managers and government representatives.”   Fairtrade is pioneering a new approach to labour relations on certified banana plantations. Trade unions, employers and...
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Union executive committee wins legal fight for reinstatement in Peru 17.06.2019
Following a campaign launched in 2016, members of the executive committee of the SITETSA union in Peru have won their legal battle against unfair dismissal by Peruvian agribusiness, TALSA.  The Labour Court in the provincial capital Trujillo, Peru, ruled last year that the union executives had been dismissed unfairly, and that TALSA reinstate the workers. This latest judgement made last week, comes in response to an appeal by the company against that ruling. The Labour Court dismissed TALSA's appeal, ruling that the company reinstate within five days the workers: Santos Celestina Carranza...
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GMB Union pledges support to beleaguered Cameroon banana workers 14.06.2019
The GMB trade union has pledged it's support to the thousands of banana workers in Cameroon whose livelihoods are threatened by political unrest in the country, which has resulted in the majority of banana plantations being closed down, while banana workers themselves have been attacked by militant Anglophone separatists.    An Emergency Motion passed by delegates to the GMB Congress in Brighton yesterday (13 June) agreed to set up a fund to support the plantation workers' union, the Fako Agricultural Workers Union (FAWU), which is on the verge of collapse. The union also resolved to lobby...
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