News archive

COLSIBA celebrates 20 years as the international voice of banana workers 11.06.2013
Delegates representing COLSIBA's 70,000 members in nine countries gathered in the Honduran business capital, San Pedro Sula, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the organisation that is seen to represent the united voice of banana plantation and packhouse workers from Guatemala to Peru.The Latin American banana and agroindustrial workers' union coordinating body was born near San José, Costa Rica, in May 1993, just as the European Union was about to announce its controversial single banana import regime. Since then COLSIBA has played a key role in presenting alternatives to trade policies...
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Imminent banana workers' strike in Colombia: the buyers' responsibility? 05.06.2013
The Colombian national agricultural workers' union Sintrainagro has announced that its 20,000 members employed in the banana industry will come out on strike in response to the employers' proposal to reduce wage rates and cut social benefits. This follows weeks of negotiations between Sintrainagro and Augura, the industry body in Colombia's Urabá region. The start-date is being determined by a strike committee elected yesterday, following a ballot of members that supported industrial action.More than one banana in five imported into Britain currently is grown in Colombia, and over a third of...
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Costa Rican workers reinstated!!! 01.05.2013
Nearly five years after they were fired from their jobs at the giant Piña Frut pineapple farm, belonging to Grupo Acon, Leonora Mullins and Eddy Aguilar are back at work. Their union, SITRAP,  took their case for unfair sacking to court.An initial court resolution ordered their resintatement back in April 2012, but was challenged by the company and the appeal against the court order went to the Supreme Court. In October, the Supreme Court backed the resolution ordering reinstatement and back pay for the two workers. At a meeting with Grupo Acon's Human Resources Manager on Friday 26th April...
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Del Monte gets OK to import biotech pineapple 29.04.2013
An international fruit company has won approval from the USDA to ship genetically engineered pineapple into the U.S.The Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., based in the Cayman Islands, has developed a transgenic pineapple that has tissue of a "novel rose color."The company has altered the fruit to "overexpress" a gene derived from the tangerine and to suppress other genes, increasing accumulation of lycopene, a natural chemical, according to its submission to the USDA.The plant's flowering cycle has also been changed to provide for more uniform growth and quality.USDA's Animal and Plant Health...
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Costa Rican agroindustrial workers' federation plans ahead 03.04.2013
Representatives of the four trade unions that make up the new Costa Rican agroindustrial workers' federation - SINTRASTAFCOR, SINTRACOBAL, SITRAP and SINTRAPIFRUT – met in Siquirres on 23rd March. General secretary, Maikol Hernandez, underlined the huge challenges ahead in organising plantation and packhouse workers, as well as those employed in security, transport and logistics between plantations and the port.It was agreed that the private sector unions would need the support of public sector workers' unions and other sections of Costa Rican society if they were to change the anti-union...
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Surviving Panama's banana crisis cooperatively 03.04.2013
Near the archetypal banana town of Changuinola in Panama’s North Western province of Bocas del Toro, just a few kilometres from the Rio Sixaola – and Costa Rica on the other side – are three unusual banana plantations. Many would have predicted that these plantations would not survive the dramatic decline in Panama’s banana exports that has taken place in recent years.What makes the plantations unusual is that they are run by a cooperative of former Chiquita workers. But unlike a more recent cooperative of former Chiquita workers on the Pacific coast of Panama, this cooperative has survived...
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Noboa assets seized to cover tax debt 18.03.2013
Ecuador's Internal Revenue Service (SRI) says it will start to auction the assets it has seized to cover an alleged multi-million dollar tax debt within two months, according to Reefer Trends. SRI National Director Carlos Marx Carrasco explained that it must first perform a valuation of the properties. According to him, nine vehicles, six planes, two boats and several properties totalling 14, 694, 200 m2 have been seized from Alvaro Noboa for the alleged tax debt of Exportadora Bananera Noboa. The latest seizure was nine farms, located in El Engabao, Beaches (Guayas). On this procedure,...
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Pura Vida: film screening in memory of Carlos Arguedas Mora 13.03.2013
A film screening in memory of Carlos Arguedas Mora, a Costa Rican trade unionist and environmental activist is being held at the Scottish Trades Union Congress from 7-9pm on 21st March 2013. The screening will feature two films:Pura Vida (29 mins Costa Rica/Scotland - Jan Nimmo) which exposes the social and environmental impact of toxic agro-chemicals used to grow bananas and pineapples for export to Europe.Portraits from Cameroon  (18 mins Cameroon/Scotland - Jan Nimmo) A series of short banana workers' testimonies from the plantations of Cameroon. These portraits offer an insight into the...
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Mozambican bananas expanding in UK market 06.03.2013
In 2012, over 1000 tonnes of bananas arrived in Britain from a new farm in Northern Mozambique. In February, the Minister of Agriculture, José Pacheco, visited the Cabo Delgado province where the Jacaranda company currently has some 100 hectares of banana for export. He told Radio Moçambique that the company was hoping to increase exports to over 3000 tonnes in 2013. However, the company, would like to expand to 1000 hectares, although it seems that one of the constraints to such a major expansion is the capacity of the port of Nacala. The Agriculture Minister, in the face of sensitivities of...
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A Race To The Top 29.01.2013
Since the declaration of ‘war’ on UK banana retail prices by WalMart subsidiary Asda ten years ago, very low banana pricing has become a feature of the British market - a very unwelcome feature indeed for all those involved in supplying the UK market. But most of the 60 million consumers who buy bananas every week cannot even quote the price they have paid for their bananas as they walk out of the store! This is just one of the paradoxes posed by Britain’s favourite fruit.Read about the impact of more than a decade of price wars and the potential for a 'race to the top' in the banana industry...
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