News archive

Fyffes: International Union of Foodworkers calls on Honduran Labour Minister to intervene 14.06.2017
The Latin American Region of the International Union of Foodworkers (Rel-UITA) has called on Honduran Labour Minister, Carlos Madero, to intervene to ensure that following the recent suspension of Fyffes from the UK Government's Ethical Trading Intiative (ETI), the parties engage in constructive diaklogue to break the "vicious cycle of impunity that Fyffes' melon subsidiaries have thus far enjoyed in the country".  We reproduce the Rel-UITA letter below: 
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Update on Fyffes suspension from ETI 12.06.2017
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) have today published the following update on their recent suspension of Fyffes: On May 4th, ETI’s Board suspended Fyffes’ membership over what it viewed as the company’s failure to meet its membership obligations. This upheld the recommendations of a disciplinary subcommittee that met on March 30th.   Importantly, the subcommittee commented on their concerns about Fyffes’ understanding of, and commitment to, working within ETI’s Base Code of labour standards and its Principles of Implementation. The Principles define the commitments, management practices...
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Banana workers' Farm Co-op in Cameroon benefiting from your donations 06.06.2017
Many thanks to those who have donated to our appeal for donations to support Fako Agricultural Workers Union (FAWU) co-operative farm in Cameroon. To date over £1200 has been raised for the farm, which has enabled them, among other things, to purchase 37 automatic poultry drinkers. The farm also now has 115 pigs, and is about to introduce its second batch of chickens, having sold out their first batch. We have some recent photos from the Co-op below.    Read more about the farm and make a donation here:     Wanji John setting up some of the automatic poultry feeders   Just a few of the...
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Rainforest Alliance suspends Costa Rican banana and pineapple producer 31.05.2017
Rainforest Alliance recently suspended the certification of Grupo Acon, a banana and pineapple producer in Costa Rica. The reasons for the suspension relate to discrimination against workers who join a trade union, and having no complaint or grievance mechanisms to protect workers’ rights in place.  In welcoming this action by Rainforest Alliance, and the prospect of a change of practice by Grupo Acon to reach the standards required by the certifier, we reproduce the statement below from our Costa Rican trade union partner, Sindicato de Trabajadores de Plantaciones Agricolas (SITRAP), which...
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Workers report miscarriage, sexual harassment and acts of aggression 31.05.2017
  Workers report miscarriage, sexual harassment and acts of aggression - Pineapple and banana production crushes women’s rights   T-shirt, jeans and oil-skin boots. That is how Sugeily Sarmiento dresses to work on the banana plantation on the Palo Verde estate in Matina. Every morning she puts on these clothes to go to work, but she cannot erase the memory of how, three months ago, they were soaked in blood, when she had a miscarriage - she alleges - as a result of abuse of her labour rights.    “The boss mistreats me. When I was pregnant he came up to me and told me that there was no use me...
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Toxic herbicide banned amid calls for halt to pineapple expansion in Costa Rica 22.05.2017
The government of Costa Rica announced on 16 May that it is to ban the use of the toxic chemical herbicide Bromacil throughout the country.     The chemical is widely used by pineapple farmers, but poses a high risk of contaminating groundwater and affecting human health. Effects on human health include irritation to the skin, eyes and the respiratory tract, vomiting, muscle weakness, and diarrhoea, whilst it has also been linked to thyroid, liver and kidney cancers.    “We have analysed, from the environmental point of view – that Bromacil is highly toxic, especially to humans, and is highly...
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Del Monte takes on former Chiquita land in Panama 18.05.2017
After the collapse of the COOSEMUPAR workers' cooperative over a decade ago, several fruit companies have taken an interest in leasing the land in the Baru province on Panama's Pacific coast. Following several years of negotiations, the proposed investment by Fresh Del Monte has been accepted in late April by the Panamanian government which owns most of the land concerned.   A series of companies have explored replanting the land that had historically been farmed by Chiquita before they abandoned it in the hands of their former employees. Reports indicate interest from Fyffes, now-bankrupt...
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New research aims to improve women's participation in the banana industry 12.05.2017
Banana Link has just published the results of research we have undertaken to analyse the participation of women workers and small producers in the global banana industry. The working papers, documenting the research findings, include statistics on women’s’ participation in the industry, an analysis of the potential causal factors for this varying level of participation, identification of the key issues faced by local women workers and producers in the workplace and at home, the different roles/tasks that women carry out in the different countries and companies and any existing innovations...
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Unsustainability in New Zealand’s banana supply chain: what you need to know 10.05.2017
Bananas take out the top spot as Kiwi’s favourite fruit, yet support for sustainable banana supply chains remain weak in the retail space.   New research highlights the unsustainability of New Zealand’s banana supply chain and the need for major retailers to do more to support banana farmers and workers in the cultivation of bananas in Ecuador.   According to Basic’s (The Bureau for the Appraisal of Societal Impacts and Costs) ‘The Big Squeeze’ report, commissioned by Fairtrade New Zealand, New Zealand’s banana market is placing a significant amount of pressure on banana producing countries,...
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Hope for worker rights at Fyffes subsidiaries in Costa Rica and Honduras? 05.05.2017
The 5 May announcement by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) that Fyffes are to be temporarily suspended from membership raises hope for workers at their subsidiaries in Costa Rica and Honduras, that labour rights would, in future, be fully and properly respected.     The ETI’s action follows a complaint submitted by Banana Link and the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) and upheld by the ETI that Fyffes are in breach of the ETI Base Code by failing to properly respect Freedom of Association and the right to Collective Bargaining and to provide a safe and hygienic workplace on their...
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