News archive

Dole to compensate some banana workers 23.08.2011
Dole Food Company signed an agreement on 11 August to compensate 3,153 Nicaraguan, 700 Costa Rican and 1000 Honduran, banana workers for exposure to dibromochloropropane (DBCP), better known as Nemagon, used on plantations in the departments of Chinandega and Leon in the 1970s and 1980s. One of the lawyers involved in the process told AFP that the "compensation, which will take effect over the next two or three months, will allow these workers to change their lives." Between 1973 and 1980, Dole used the agrochemicals Fumazone and Nemagon in banana plantations in Central America,...
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German discounters go for direct banana sourcing 08.08.2011
8 August 2011 Lidl has joined Aldi in announcing that they will be sourcing their bananas directly, rather than buying from wholesalers. The German retailers seem to be following the model developed by British and French retailers like Morrison, Tesco and Casino, using a dedicated in-house fruit sourcing company to buy directly from producers. Between them Aldi and Lidl account for over one third of the German banana market, so the move by the two retail giants could have a significant impact on the industry, especially if the direct sourcing model is extended to the large networks of...
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Ecuadorian industry asks Government to declare state of emergency 04.08.2011
4 August 2011, Guayaquil Producers and exporters in Ecuador yesterday asked the Government to declare a six-week state of emergency to combat low prices by enabling credit to ensure growers are paid the legal minimum price of US $5.50 per 43 pound box. This request comes as prices have fallen as low as $2 per box and sanctions have not yet been applied for non-payment of the minimum price. The industry has also asked the Ministry of Agriculture to find a way of controlling the volume exported, recognising that the low prices are directly linked to an oversupply in the national market....
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Latin American workers' conference in Ecuador 29.07.2011
29 July 2011 Representatives of banana, sugarcane and other agroindustrial workers' unions from eight countries of Latin America will meet for their eleventh delegate conference in Guayaquil, Ecuador from 15th to 17th August. Member trade unions of the Latin American Banana and Agroindustrial Workers' Union Coordinating Body COLSIBA from Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala will debate future policies to achieve trade union freedom, collective bargaining, more women's employment, job security, living wages and social dialogue. For more...
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Consumers International welcomes pineapple initiative 29.07.2011
29 July 2011, London Press release from Consumers International: The Costa Rican government recently launched the National Platform for Responsible Pineapple Production and Trade following criticism of the industry's environmental and social impacts. It is hoped that this will provide a space for meaningful dialogue between plantation owners and trade unions. DocumentaryPineapple production in Costa Rica has experienced a boom in recent years but this has had serious consequences for people and the environment in many areas of the country. Consumers International investigated these issues in...
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Costa Rican banana companies have huge debts to social security system 26.07.2011
26 July 2011 A total of 73 banana companies have debts amounting to some USD 16 million to the CCSS, the Costa Rican public social security and healthcare system. The monies due are employers' statutory contributions for their employees. These private sector debts, coupled with other monies owed by the Government itself, have put the institution in a serious financial crisis. The names of the companies, mainly nationally owned plantations, were passed to President Laura Chinchilla by a citizen, Roberto Mora Salazar, who is well known for exposing employers who fail to pay over the...
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Dole signs first ever CBA with Ecuadorian banana workers 26.07.2011
The Ecuadorian subsidiary of the world's biggest fruit company, Dole-Ubesa, has signed today its first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the 487 workers employed at its Hacienda Megabanana near Babahoyo in the province of Los Rios. The trade union is affliated to the national agroindustrial workers and small farmers' federation FENACLE. This is the first time that Dole banana workers in Ecuador have secured a collective agreement.  Amongst other benefits the two-year agreement, which is backdated to 15th January 2011, includes a 7% pay rise this year and a further 5% in 2012. "...
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Windward Island bananas back in the shops! 21.07.2011
Following the devastation of banana production in the Windward Islands last October by Hurricane Tomas, trade resumed on June 19. 1,915 cartons of bananas supplied by 73 elated Fairtrade farmers, of the 509 registered, were shipped from St. Vincent to the UK. Sainsburys, Waitrose and Asda are all once again stocking bananas from the Windwards. With 1.7 million plants destroyed on the ground, livelihoods lost, no income for the foreseeable future, Hurricane Tomas was a fate to test the resolve of even the most resolute and it took a great deal of resilience, support and encouragement...
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Farmers criticise exporting company 21.07.2011
21 july 2011, Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Windward Islands Farmers’ Association (WINFA) expresses its alarm at the difficulties being faced by Fairtrade banana farmers in the Windward Islands in the export of their bananas to the United Kingdom through the sole marketing agent, WINFRESH (formerly WIBDECO). "These farmers, whose production had been wiped out by the devastation of hurricane Tomas in October last year, following a debilitating drought earlier that year, resulting in a loss of income for eight months, have made huge sacrifices, with the support of the...
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Côte d’Ivoire: ITUC calls for immediate release of Basile Mahan Gahé 11.07.2011
11 July 2011, Brussels. Basile Mahan Gahé, general secretary of Dignité trade union confederation, was transferred on Saturday morning from the capital, Abidjan, to a town in the north of the country. The ITUC has reiterated its grave concern for his welfare and has called for his immediate release.  In May 2011, the trade union leader, who had received death threats, was abducted from his home by armed men. (See previous ITUC OnLine). He was identified after being held for several days in solitary confinement in a police station in Abidjan. The ITUC has repeatedly called for the trade...
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