News archive

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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Stop supermarkets abusing their buyer power with Make Fruit Fair!! 06.02.2012
  'Stop supermarkets abusing their buyer power' is the campaign call from the Make Fruit Fair campaign which wants supermarkets, as the most powerful actors along the supply chain, to pay fair prices to their suppliers. Consumers throughout Europe are being mobilised to petition Barroso for the EC regulation of supermarket buying practices through a Code of Practice enforced and monitored by an ombudsman. Bananas and pineapples are amongst the most traded fruits in the world.  Most are grown on large plantations producing for, or owned by, big fruit companies including Chiquita, Del Monte and...
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Iris Munguia, first woman Coordinator of COLSIBA 13.12.2011
Iris Munguia was appointed Coordinator at COLSIBA during the COLSIBA XI Conference in August this year. She is the first woman to be elected to lead COLSIBA since its foundation in 1993. Iris' election into this prominent position illustrates the great progress Latin American unions have made in terms of gender representation.Women workers in Latin American banana trade face many challenges. They are often subject to sexual harassment and labour discrimination, as they are seen to be unreliable workers. Those who do secure jobs are forced to leave their children at home in order to earn a...
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Costa Rica: strike ends with promise to negotiate a new CBA 10.12.2011
A fortnight-long strike by workers at three Del Monte banana plantations in the Southern Costa Rican region of Sixaola has ended with a commitment by the company to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Public and Private Sector Workers' Union (SITEPP) union. Four days into the strike by over 800 of the 1200 employees who work on the Corbana-owned plantations (managed by the Fresh Del Monte subsidiary for the national industry body), the Government agreed to play an active role in conciliating the parties. Some 80% of the workers come from ethnic Guaymi...
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Free Markets and the Food Crisis in Central America 05.12.2011
In 'Free Markets and the Food Crisis in Central America' Aguilar proposes that regional intergration is needed to counter the negative impacts of increased foreign investment and agressive trade liberalisation in Central America. He describes a region heavily dependent on imports and 'aid' through free trade agreements with the U.S. and E.U. In 2005 agriculture contributed less to regional GDP than remittances with widespread migration from countryside to the cities as farmers are no longer able to make a living. As dependency on grain imports increases, export based agriculture is...
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Ecuador: New ITUC report reveals labour rights abuses 05.12.2011
A new ITUC report on core labour standards in Ecuador reveals grave problems with trade union rights and discrimination and several other violations of labour rights.Ecuadorian workers are reported to enjoy only limited rights to organise, collectively bargain and strike. Employers make use of practices such as sub-contracting and setting up employer-controlled associations to further weaken workers' bargaining power.Whilst sub-contracting may be prevalent in Ecuadorian industries under less international scrutiny, Banana Link believes that in the banana industry, multinational and national...
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Renwick Rose receives Guardian International Development Achievement Award 21.11.2011
Renwick Rose, for decades the Coordinator of the Windwards Islands Farmer Association (WINFA) was at the Royal Academy of Arts last week to receive the Guardian International Development Achievement Award 2011. Banana Link and EUROBAN representatives attended the event to celebrate the long term dedication to fair and sustainable banana trade of a key partner. Visit the Guardian and Fairtrade Foundation websites to read more. Congrulations Renwick from us all at Banana Link!!
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