COLSIBA, the Coordinating Body of Latin American Banana and Agro-industrial Unions, was founded in 1993. It functions at a regional level in all countries that produce and market bananas, pineapples and sugar. It has members in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Due to its coordinating nature, COLSIBA adopts a structure that is horizontal and operational; a coordinating committee of two representatives (one man and one woman) of each member organization plus a political committee, a women’s committee, an occupational health and safety committee and a coordinator and sub-coordinator. The largest event is the COLSIBA bi-annual conference.
COLSIBA fights to preserve and be an advocate for the respect of labour, union and human rights, and specifically issues for women workers. It provides a space for meetings and coordination between unions from each country in the region. The union affiliates work collectively to better manage information on the world banana market and to strengthen ties with fraternal organizations and institutions that support different regional initiatives such as campaigns and protests and generate a space for dialogue and analysis to tackle the labour issues within the Latin American banana and agricultural industry.
COLSIBA seek to improve freedom of association and collective bargaining, in accordance with the rules and agreements of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The formation of trade union organizations in many banana plantations, tropical fruit plantations and sugar cane plantations still is an ongoing struggle - trade union activity is still repressed, and sometimes threatens the personal safety of those who do practise it.
Despite great efforts to resolve the labour problems in the agricultural regions, more support is needed in the face of the enormity of existing problems.
- Visit the COLSIBA website (Spanish only) www.colsiba.org
- Read a report about the work of the COLSIBA Women Committee
- Read: Interview - Supporting banana plantation workers in Latin America
Photo: COLSIBA conference hosted by SITRAIBANA, Panama, August 2007