Nicaragua: first CBA in over 20 years

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More than 20 years since the last collective agreement covering workers in the Nicaraguan banana industry, the Chinandega Banana Workers’ Union Federation (Fetrabach) has signed an agreement covering its members on four plantations in the country’s North West department of Chinandega.

The three trade unions representing around 800 workers at the Alfonso, Angelina, Pennsilvania and San Luis plantations, all affiliated to Fetrabach, presented their petition for negotiation back in April 2011 and had to undergo 23 working sessions with the employer’s representatives before reaching a final agreement.

The thirty clause CBA, signed by the parties on 8th March 2012, confers a series of social benefits for the next two years. Commenting on this first agreement in over 20 years, Fetrabach General Secretary Roberto Ruiz said it was a „long-awaited day for workers, after 11 months of tough negotiations and years when even their minimum rights were not guaranteed.“

The plantations sell their bananas to Chiquita Brands for the North American market. For several years, the Latin American Trade Union Coordinating Body, Colsiba, had urged Chiquita to use its influence with the national producers to get the industry to renegotiate the very out-of-date wages and conditions. Nicaragua has the lowest banana wages in the continent.

Sources: Fetrabach, El Viejo, 16th March; Colsiba.