Are your bananas cheap because workers are exploited?
An estimated 95% of Guatemala’s exported bananas reach [the US], where consumers now count on this fruit to remain one of the cheapest items in the produce section.
In exchange for high productivity, Guatemala’s banana workers receive some of the lowest wages in the region, earning less than their fellow industry laborers in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Colombia, explained Banana Link’s international coordinator, Alistair Smith, and International Labor Rights Forum’s senior policy analyst, Eric Gottwald.
(Photo: Stephen Russell)
To keep boxes cheap and exports sailing, many Pacific Coast workers in Guatemala have lived a bloody, fear-ridden reality that has kept the region totally un-unionized. To the north, the Union of Izabal Banana Workers, Sitrabi, has improved its position but its leader has received death threats.