News archive

TR4 confirmed in Colombia as country declares "national emergency" 09.08.2019
The Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) has this week confirmed the presence of the banana disease Fusarium Wilt tropical race IV (TR4) in the country and has declared a national emergency with additional controls to mitigate the risk of contagion to other farms. "We are declaring a national emergency, despite the disease [only] being confirmed in La Guajira, in order to speed up the process of controlling the disease," said ICA) general manager Deyanira Barrero León during a news conference. She emphasized that banana exports would continue, as the fruit can still be consumed normally and...
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Is fair trade finished? 24.07.2019
Fairtrade changed the way we shop. But major companies have started to abandon it and set up their own in-house imitations – threatening the very idea of fair trade.   We reproduce below this article from The Guardian by By Samanth Subramanian   It wasn’t very long ago that a banana was just a banana – just a curved, yellow fruit. All you knew, if you bought a bunch in 1986, was that they cost around 97p per kilo. You weren’t told if they were organic or pesticide-free. You didn’t know if they came from Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic. And you certainly weren’t invited to worry about the...
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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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