Make Fruit Fair! partner Oxfam Germany, together with activists from Ecuador and Costa Rica, handed-over the first 10,021 signatures in our campaign asking Lidl to play fair by tropical fruit workers in their supply chains.
Following the handover, Make Fruit Fair! campaigners met with Lidl, who admitted that the working conditions in the pineapple production in Costa Rica and in the banana industry in Ecuador must be improved. These working conditions had been documented in Oxfam's recent report, Sweet Fruit, Bitter Truth. Lidl agreed to discuss the labour rights violations of its supplier Finca Once in Costa Rica on site with our local partners.
Lidl did not, however, want to explicitly commit to informing their supplier in Ecuador on the importance of trade union rights, as a way of addressing alleged discrimination against trade union members. Lidl also refused to be fully transparent in disclosing who supplies their tropical fruit - something the Make Fruit Fair! campaign has had to ascertain by visiting Lidl stores across Europe to physically identify suppliers of tropical fruit on their shelves.
The meeting with Lidl produced agreement on the following three items:
- As a first step, there will be a joint meeting between Lidl, its supplier Finca Once, the local research team and Oxfam, to verify the contents of the Sweet Fruit, Bitter Truth research in Costa Rica.
- Oxfam and Lidl are of the opinion that a joint initiative of retail chains, government, trade unions, NGOs, suppliers and producers is important to promote compliance with the fundamental right to freedom of association and other human rights in the Ecuadorian banana industry.
- All parties share the view that further steps to improve the environmental situation and working conditions in pineapple production in Costa Rica and in the banana industry in Ecuador are necessary and desirable.
Although we have been encouraged by Lidl's willingness to engage with our campaign, we are a long way from securing commitments from them to:
- guarantee that small-scale farmers and plantation workers producing tropical fruit earn an income which enables them to provide for their families and themselves.
- guarantee that all workers are safe in the workplace, and protected from exposure to toxic pesticides.
- guarantee the union rights of workers.
- pay a fair price for bananas and pineapples to all of your suppliers.
Let’s keep the pressure on Lidl - sign the email below to show Lidl your support for our campaign.
Photo: copyright - Roger Bürke