First came the proposed merger of Fyffe and Chiquita brands last March, which fell through in October and now Brazil’s Cutrale and Safra have partnered to buy Chiquita and headquarter the company in Brazil, closing the company’s North Carolina Office. Fortune says, fruit is big business.
According to Banana Link, a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for a fair and sustainable banana trade, the big fruit companies are relocating to countries in search of cheaper labour and weaker social and environmental legislation. Many workers in countries such as West Africa, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador do not receive a living wage and face appalling working conditions including 10- to 12-hour working days and exposure to harmful chemicals.
Banana Link said that in Guatemala, one of the largest suppliers to the US, union activists have been shot when they have tried to campaign for better conditions.
International mergers such as this one are made easier by our failed trade policies. With President Obama and the Republican leadership in Congress moving forward with plans to fast track more bad trade deals, it is important to remember that these deals lead to lost jobs here in the United States. We urge Congress to reject giving fast track authority to President Obama, nix bad trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and to strengthen the Clayton Act in order to protect farmers and consumers from further corporate consolidation efforts.
You don’t need to support the agribusiness takeover of the world’s food production and their union busting straggles, though. There’s an alternative product in Fair Trade bananas. They cost a bit more out of your pocket but will help save the planet and keep alive the concept of fair wages for fair work.