News archive

Colombian banana crisis: a ticking time bomb? 23.01.2013
In spite of the country's tragic record of murders and threats to trade unionists, Colombia is the country where trade union rights in the banana industry have been most respected for the last 15 years. However the national collective bargaining agreement that covers the wages, conditions and social benefits of some 20,000 plantation and packhouse workers and their famlilies on over 300 farms has been put under undue pressure as the union Sintranagro told press this week.Reefer Trends reported the fears of Sintrainagro president that 3,000 workers who will lose their jobs when 32 banana farms...
Read more
Does the British banana market make sense? 17.12.2012
Fresh Fruit Portal publish opinion piece by Banana Link's International Coordinator, Alistair Smith: 'Since the declaration of ‘war’ on U.K. banana prices by Walmart subsidiary Asda 10 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 U.K. 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 the store. This is just one of the paradoxes posed by Britain’s favorite fruit.That the price of loose...
Read more
Political banana skin sidestepped 12.12.2012
The EU’s agreement with 10 Latin American states over banana imports was described as “a historic moment" by former EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy, now director general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), last month, according to a recent article on arc2020. Lamy himself has taken part in the negotiations wearing first an EU hat before his career move to the WTO: “…quite a few people who worked on the cases, both in the secretariat and in member governments have retired long ago,” he told a Geneva press conference.But paid retirement is no more than a dream for thousands of banana...
Read more
Windwards in struggle for banana survival 12.12.2012
Renwick Rose, former coordinator of WINFA (the Association of Caribbean Farmers) describes the struggle facing Windward Island banana farmers, which he fears may be their last.....In close to six decades of its existence, the banana industry in the Windward Islands has endured and literally weathered all kinds of challenges, rising time after time out of adversity to clear many different hurdles.  As 2012 draws to an end however, it may be facing its gravest ever threat, one which if not tackled with tact and determination, could sound the death knell for the industry and those farming...
Read more
Fairtrade banana crisis brewing in Colombia 12.12.2012
Reefer Trends reports on the crisis in the Colombian industry,‘In the last few weeks the crisis has started to bite and producers have had to choose between paying workers their full wages and benefits or applying inputs.’This is the stark assessment made by NGO Banana Link in describing the situation of the banana industry in Colombia. Despite being at the top end of the scale in terms of compliance with core ethical standards such as freedom of association, living wages, stable employment contracts and decent working conditions and despite enjoying the best industrial relations in the Latin...
Read more
Banana dispute officially ends 12.11.2012
Representatives from the European Union and ten Latin American countries have signed a landmark agreement on banana imports into the EU, ending one of the longest-running disputes in the history of international trade, reports Fruitnet’s Mike Knowles. "This is a truly historic moment,“ said WTO director general Pascal Lamy, who has worked for many years to broker a deal between all parties involved."After so many twists and turns, these complicated and politically contentious disputes can finally be put to bed. It has taken so long that quite a few people who worked on the cases, both in the...
Read more
Guatemalan trade union leader visits UK calling for an end to violent attacks 27.10.2012
At the end of October the TUC hosted a visit to London by Noé Ramirez Portela, General Secretary of the Izabal Banana Workers' Union of Guatemala (SITRABI) - the oldest private sector union in the country, organising workers in Del Monte-owned banana plantations on the Caribbean coast. Commenting on the visit TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:"Tragically Guatemala is now the second most dangerous country in the world in which to be a trade unionist and last year SITRABI was the union hardest hit by violence."Noé was elected General Secretary of SITRABI in 2000 shortly after the union'...
Read more
Ecuador government legislates in face of mounting pressures 28.09.2012
The government of the world's largest banana exporting country has this week announced labour law reforms that would tighten rules on social security registration and extend breastfeeding and childcare rights for working mothers. The government is also reported to be preparing stricter legislation on aerial spraying of chemicals in and around banana plantations. This comes at a time when consumers – as well as affected workers and communities - are increasingly concerned about conditions in the Ecuadorian industry. New legislation in the shape of the Law for the Defence of Workers' Rights,...
Read more
Dole seeks to invest more in Ecuador 26.09.2012
In a little reported meeting last week at the Presidential Palace in Quito, the owner of Dole Food Co., David Murdock met with Rafael Correa to discuss new investment by the world's largest fruit company in both banana production and scientific research.As well as seeking to make investment in new plantations – up to 3,000 hectares according to some reports – Dole proposed to provide scientific support for the Yachay project, an ambitious proposal by the Ecuadorian government to « revolutionise higher education and research in the country ». Dole proposed a link-up with its nutrition research...
Read more
Dole begins payments to Central American banana workers 18.09.2012
U.S. fruit giant Dole Food Company, Inc. this week began paying a settlement to some 5,000 former Central American banana workers who sued the company for exposing them to the harmful pesticides Nemagon and Fumazone while they worked for the company.The agreement terminates 38 lawsuits filed in the United States and Nicaragua alleging pesticide-related injuries, the company said.The complaints concerned pesticides sprayed on crops to control worms for over two decades, before they were banned in 1977 following reports of infertility among male workers exposed to them.The terminated lawsuits...
Read more

Pages