Support our Union-to-Union programme
The majority of plantation workers continue to live in poverty and their most basic rights fail to be respected within the workplace. We are therefore appealing for donations to allow us to continue to offer solidarity to our sister unions to challenge the repression of the freedom to organise, educate workers about their rights, and empower their union representatives to collectively bargain for living wages and Decent Work for the men and women that grow the fruit sold on our supermarket shelves.
You can make make an online donation here:
Or send a cheque to Banana Link, 42-58 St George's Street, Norwich, NR3 1AB
Recommended minimum annual donations: £15 for individuals, £50 for union branches, £100 for union regions/divisions, and £150 for national unions.
Union-to-Union solidarity in action achievements in 2015/16
Our education and empowerment programme for workers and union reps in Cameroon and Ghana has resulted in measurable improvements in important aspects of workers’ lives, including the negotiation of significant wage increases, threefold increases in awareness of labour rights, reductions in working hours and increased overtime payments, greater provision of personal protective equipment, and significantly fewer workplace accidents and work related illnesses.
Watch this video in which union reps talk about how they have benefitted from our education programme for trade union representatives and workers to help them understand their rights and negotiate better wages and working conditions.
We have supported SINTRAINAGRO (National Union of Agroindustry Workers of Colombia) to undertake a range of initiatives to support women workers who lost their jobs due to fierce winds which devastated the banana sector in Uraba, Colombia in 2014. These included training workshops for women on alternative income sources, a marketplace providing basic goods to the affected women, purchase of school supplies for their children, and a hardship fund.
Adela Torres of SINTRAINAGRO explains the challenges they face, and their need for international support.
Our support has enabled SITRAP (Sindicato de Trabajadores de Plantaciones Agricolas) to achieve the legally required level of membership at Del Monte’s Filadelfia plantation for union recognition and collective bargaining with the company, raising the prospect of negotiating the first collective bargaining agreement in the sector in four decades. We have also coordinated contributions towards the purchase of a motor bike for their General Secretary to enable him to continue leading SITRAP's organising work at more than 40 plantations.
We have supported the work of the Women's Officer of FENACLE (National Federation of Agro-industrial Workers and Small Farmers) for many years. We were delighted in 2015 to secure three years of funding to enable this programme to continue enabling the increased organisation of women workers in banana and sugar production, the empowerment of more women in leadership roles, and negotiation of gender clauses in collective bargaining agreements.
We have continued to support the work of SITRABI (Union of Banana Workers of Izabal) organising workers in Del Monte-owned banana plantations on the Caribbean coast in the face of their relatively decent wages and conditions being undercut by a huge expansion of cheap, non-union bananas in the South of the country. With our support, SITRABI has been able to start the awareness-raising process with workers in the South and establish dialogue with one of the main companies operating there.
In 2016, Noé Ramirez Portela, General Secretary of the SITRABI visited the UK, during which he met UK trade unionists, government and opposition officials and journalists.
Watch: Noé talking about the challenges and dangers of organising in Guatemala
FESTAGRO (Federation of Agroindustrial Workers' Unions) has been able to convene a regional workshop on ratification of ILO Convention 184 on Safety and Heath in Agriculture, produce awareness raising materials, and develop further advocacy towards ratification in partnership across the region.
We continue to support SITAG (Agro-industrial Workers Union) to organise workers, and who this year signed an historic framework agreement on trade union rights and sectoral dialogue by seven banana producers’ associations, while also supporting SITETSA in the face of spurious criminal charges brought against them by the fruit company Tal SA.