- Multinationals -


Posted by: James Towell ( UK ) on May 08, 1998 at 09:29:06:

I have been following WDM and their work for banana workers.

They have some information at http://www.oneworld.org/wdm/action/bananas.html an extract of which I have shown below:

[WDM begin]
Pedro won't forget the day he joined a union.
Banana giant Chiquita threatened to cut his wages
by a staggering 70%, forcing him to leave the union.
"The companies are very powerful," he says. "I had
to denounce the union for the sake of my family.
We have no other means of income". Pedro is not
alone. Workers on Del Monte plantations said it's
dangerous even to mention the word union.
[WDM end]

On sending WDM's standard letter to Chiquita I received the following reply dated 27th April 1998:

[Chiqita begin]
There are several points that I would like to clarify. Chiquita workers may freely choose to be represented by independent trade unions. In fact, Chiquita workers are represented by 85 independent trade unions.

In Costa Rica, many Chiquita workers choose to be members of the Solidarismo movement. All Chiqita operations comply with local labour laws and applicable ILO standards.

Chiquita prides itself on its record as an employer in the countries in which it operates and continually works to attract and maintain employee satisfaction.
To demonstrate its commitment on environmental and worker safety issues, Chiquita has invited an independent organisation, the Rainforest Alliance, to examine and certify its efforts on a farm by farm basis.
Since 1992, Chiquita has been part of the of Better Banana Project certification programme coordinated by the environmental NGO, the Rainforest Alliance. Chiquita is the first major company in our industry to ensure that workers understand the issues involved in working with agrochemicals.
Equally important, regular medical controls must be in place for all workers.
Housing conditions and other infrastructure must meet sanitary standards.
Consequently, Chiquita's involvement in the Better Banana Project is a further demonstration of its commitment to worker safety and social issues.

Furthermore, Chiquita has a research department working full-time on methods to reduce agrochemical use and continues to implement new methods that minimise workers contact with agrochemicals.
[Chiquita end]

Who is telling the truth?

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