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“Complaint from banana workers for violation of rights under the framework of the Multiparty Trade Agreement of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the European Union”
Author: Instituto de Estudios Ecuatorianos; ASTAC, Published on: 14 May 2019
This complaint is motivated by the breach of the obligations related to labor and environmental rights as established in Articles 269, 270 and 277 of Chapter IX on Trade and Sustainable Development of the Multiparty Trade Agreement (MTA, or ACM in Spanish) between the European Union, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. 1. The importance of the banana sector under the MTA framework stems from Ecuador’s position as the main global exporter of this fruit whilst the European Union (EU) is its main buyer. Production and marketing respond to an oligopolistic structure where profits and market control are concentrated in exporters and importers -both with a strong transnational presence- and in European supermarket chains, all of whom are thus co-responsible in generating the conditions for the fulfillment of labor and environmental rights. 2. In the banana sector there is a permanent violation of labor rights. This violation includes: 1) the persistence of informal working relationships; 2) the overexploitation of workers; 3) undue deductions from workers’ salaries; 4) a breach of the monthly minimum wage (salario básico unificado in Spanish). 3. There are reports of regulatory backsliding in labor rights that are in violation of the Ecuadorian Constitution and international agreements.