News archive

Are Chiquita bananas sustainable? 06.04.2012
Chiquita’s efforts to ‘promote social responsibility and sustainability’ have been praised in a recent Economist article that argues that the fruit giant is receiving little credit for its progress. The claim that Chiquita now produces „sustainable bananas“ is however overstated, as we are sure the company itself would admit. We do acknowledge that Chiquita, Dole and French Caribbean producers are among the big players who are beginning to make serious and concerted efforts to make their production systems more sustainable through the World Banana Forum. In practice though, it is the small...
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Philippines: Environmental opposition to banana and pineapple expansion 05.04.2012
An alliance of local government units has voiced opposition to further expansion of pineapple and banana plantations in South Cotabato, claiming that it is concerned over the environmental impacts this would have.South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy, Jr., chairman of the Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance, said the group recently passed a resolution asking the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) to deny pending requests for additional banana and pineapple plantations in T’boli after an ocular inspection of the highland municipality.The town hosts thousands of hectares of banana...
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ILO attests to climate of "total impunity" in Guatemala 29.03.2012
The Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation has today approved a report from its Committee on Freedom of Association examining a number of complaints from Guatemalan trade unions concerning violations of fundamental labour rights. "The Committee expresses its deep concern over [...] the numerous murders, murder attempts, acts of aggression, death threats, kidnappings, harassment and initimidation of trade union leaders and members, as well as over the allegations concerning the elaboration of black lists and the climate of total impunity."The Committee also regrets that the...
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Costa Rica: Pineapple companies accept dialogue with trade unions 27.03.2012
After months of discussions with the trade unions that organise workers in Costa Rica’s pineapple plantations, the National Platform for Responsible Pineapple Production and Trade is to create a Working Group to address the long-standing labour issues that have plagued the industry. Costa Rica supplies three quarters of pineapples sold in Europe and in 2010 industry conditions were exposed by Consumers International. National and multinational employers have finally agreed to a proposal from the Costa Rican Deputy Labour Minister to include the trade unions in work to try and improve social...
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Peru: union secures reinstatement of sacked workers 13.03.2012
After a series of unfair sackings over the last few months, SITAG, the trade union which represents workers in the Peruvian banana industry in the Chira Valley, has been able to secure the reinstatement of members of their branch committees who had been sacked.Five workers of the Union y Progreso Farmers’ Association laid off in January - on the pretext that their contracts could not be renewed - are to be reinstated following an appeal to the Dole subsidiary that markets the Association’s bananas to intervene. Those laid off included key members of SITAG’s branch committee.The next day, the...
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Respect and dignity for women agricultural workers 2 12.03.2012
In Honduras, melons represent 11% of agricultural exports. They are mainly cultivated by women who represent two thirds of the workforce. Human rights violations in the industry are numerous and include precarious contracts, long work days, salaries below the national minimum, discrimination and virtually non existent access to health services. This International Women’s Day our partner, COSIBAH (1), has appealed for the multinational fruit company Fyffes to ensure that their principal Honduran subsidiary, Suragro, respects the rights of their workers. COSIBAH also asks that the...
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Award winning union leader speaks of life and work 07.03.2012
On 6 March 2012 Iris Munguia received the prestigious SOLIDAR* Silver Rose award for her struggle to support banana workers in Honduras. The award ceremony took place in the European Parliament in Brussels and brought together representatives of European institutions, SOLIDAR’s partners and allies, and other stakeholders to celebrate the outstanding work of the winners. At the ceremony, Iris spoke movingly of her life and work. She described her journey as a mother of four children and a worker on a Chiquita plantation in Honduras, where she has served for the last 32 years as a trade union...
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First ever global meeting of women banana workers! 21.02.2012
Women trade unionists and small producers from the banana industry in Latin America, the Windward Islands, Ghana and Cameroon will meet on February 24 and 25 to exchange their experiences within the household, workforce and labour movement. This meeting will precede the second global conference of the World Banana Forum (WBF) in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on 28 and 29 February. Women banana workers face many challenges. Fewer and fewer women are being employed in the industry – in some countries less than 8% of the workforce are female ‐ as they are seen to be temporary and ‘high cost’ workers. In...
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Banana union leader wins top award 20.02.2012
A woman union leader has won a prestigious award for her struggle to support workers in Honduras supplying bananas to British stores for as little as £5 a day. Iris Munguia, a former banana worker herself, will next month in Brussels receive a Silver Rose prize from SOLIDAR, a network of 56 nongovernmental organisations in over 90 countries that promote social justice in Europe and worldwide. The presentation ceremony on 6 March will coincide with events to mark International Women’s Day. Members of SOLIDAR in Britain, the not-for-profit cooperative Banana Link and the anti-poverty charity...
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Another killing in Guatemala 13.02.2012
Miguel Angel González Ramírez, a member of the Izabal banana workers’ union SITRABI, was killed on 5 February. He was shot several times whilst carrying his young child in his arms. "This is yet another deadly crime against banana workers and, as such, against the Guatemalan trade union movement as a whole. President Otto Perez Molina must honour the responsibility he has to protect the workers targeted by constant violence,“ insisted ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. The murder took place in the midst of a battle being waged by SITRABI following the refusal of Del Monte subsidiary...
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