News archive

New industrial union created in Honduras 04.09.2012
El Progreso, Honduras, 4th September 2012Our Honduran partners, COSIBAH (the Honduran Agroindustrial Workers' Union Coordinating Body), have announced the creation of a new trade union at three plantations, Finca Las Tres Hermanas. The plantation is owned by Honduran capital and sells all its fruit from 425 hectares to Chiquita, employing 400 workers.What makes the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Industria del Banano (Sitrainba) unusual is that, as an industrial union, it can recruit members from any other plantations in the country. It is also not restricted to workers with permanent...
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Labour inspectorates - the reality in Honduras 15.08.2012
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — If you’ve ever wondered why conditions for legions of Latin American workers are so bad, it helps to spend time with the front-line officials keeping tabs on abusive employers.Government labor inspectors take on cases like union-busting and unlawful firings. But across Latin America, labor inspectors are often overburdened with massive case loads, poorly paid and impotent to do very much when they spot exploitation. “This is by design,” said Dan Kovalik, a lawyer for the United Steelworkers which works closely with Latin American labor unions. “These are countries...
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IUF Latin America and COLSIBA agree to coordinate policies and actions 03.08.2012
3rd August, San Pedro Sula, HondurasThe Political Committee of the Coordinating Body of Latin American Banana and Agroindustrial Workers Unions (COLSIBA) met in San Pedro Sula on 1st, 2nd  and 3rd August.  On Friday 3rd, Gerardo Iglesias, IUF Regional Secretary and Carlos H. Reyes, member of the IUF Latin American Executive Committee, participated in the meeting.In his opening speech, Gilbert Bermúdez Umaña, sub-coordinator of COLSIBA, reminded those assembled that “In August last year, together with Gerardo (Iglesias), we had the opportunity to introduce the Forum for Corporate Social...
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Ecologist reports on poverty in the Peruvian mango industry 23.07.2012
Poverty wages, forced and unpaid overtime, poor safety conditions, obstruction to free associations and discrimination against pregnant workers -- these were just some of the accusations that have been levelled against the largest mango production companies in Peru, in a report produced by SOMO (the Dutch Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations) last year. A year has passed since then and it would seem nothing – from either side of the argument – has really changed. You might think working conditions in the Peruvian mango industry have little relevance to your own life, but if you...
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International conference on CSR 19.07.2012
An international conference 'Towards corporate social responsibility along supply chains' - Why and how companies should behave responsibly along their supply chains: the case study of tropical fruits will take place on the 16th of October in Prague. This conference, being held on the eve of the International Day for the Eradiction of the Poverty, is aimed at civil society organisations from the EU new member states, corporate actors, the public sector, academics and policy makers. 
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Chemicals used on banana plantations harm health of indigenous children 09.07.2012
Scientists in Costa Rica have published the report of a study undertaken to evaluate children’s exposure to chlorpyrifos in villages situated nearby banana plantations and plantain farms in Costa Rica. 140 children mainly indigenous Ngäbe and Bribri were included in the study which revealed that ‘children living nearby plantations with chlorpyrifos-treated bags are exposed to levels of the chemical which may harm their health’.Throughout Latin American and West Africa, chlorpyrifos-treated bags are widely used to protect banana plants from insects and to fulfill product standards, even in...
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Belgian study on certified bananas 04.07.2012
A study just released by the Belgian government’s technical cooperation agency BTC/CTB reveals that 53% of bananas sold in Belgian supermarkets carry a social or environmental label. Chiquita’s high market penetration means that a substantial proportion of fruit sold in this market are certified Rainforest Alliance. A significant proportion of these bananas are from Colombia, the country with some of the best social conditions in the Latin American industry.It is estimated that 7% of the total market is supplied by Fairtrade certified bananas, many of which are also certified organic. The...
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Workers from around the world file complaint 04.07.2012
Guatemala is among the worst violators of labour rights in the world today. Workers are routinely fired for asserting their rights at work, and increasingly, they are threatened, tortured or murdered. This is why workers from around the world now filed a complaint with the ILO urging Guatemala to respect the Right of Freedom of Association. For over 20 years, Guatemalan workers have attempted to use the ILO to vindicate the rights which were elusive at home. Despite increasingly stronger condemnations by the ILO, and numerous technical missions, Guatemalan workers saw no changes in law or in...
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Petition to Parliament!! 13.06.2012
Next Wednesday, Latin American trade union leader, Iris Munguia, and Caribbean farmer representative, Renwick Rose, will present thousands of signatures to the European Commission calling for the regulation of supermarket buyer power.Iris and Renwick represent tens of thousands of small producers and workers who suffer the negative impacts of the lack of control over how supermarkets are able to treat the suppliers of bananas, pineapples and many other products sold daily on our supermarket shelves.The signatures will be presented on Wednesday 20 June at 10.30am at the Roundpoint Schuman,...
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Sexual abuse conviction for Honduran foreman 06.06.2012
Gabriel Casco, a foreman in a banana company packhouse, has been condemned to three years’ imprisonment for repeated sexual harassment of two women workers. This was an important test-case for banana workers’ unions that have been struggling to ensure that offenders are brought to justice. It is the first conclusive case brought by the country’s new Special Attorney for Women. The Honduran government’s Public Ministry spokesman said Casco had a number of women workers under his authority and regularly harassed two in particular, telling them if they did not have sexual relations with him,...
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