Ecuador: Natl. Human Rights Institution and trade unions accuse banana plantations of labour abuses including blocking freedom of association

Reports by the Natl. Ombudsman and ASTAC, a banana trade union association in Ecuador alleged labour abuses and obstacles to freedom of association by banana export companies in Ecuador, including a lawsuit against Jorge Acosta, ASTAC president.  The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Reybanpac (part of La Favorita Group) and Noboa Group to respond to the allegations.  Response by Reybanpac is provided; we will inform if Noboa Group responds.

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Company response
14 May 2019

Response by Reybanpac

Author: Reybanpac

Reybanpac, Rey Banano del Pacífico C.A. (hereinafter “Reybanpac”), emphatically rejects the criticisms made to its banana supply chain, and the pretension of being grouped with other industry players that may incur in breaches or irregularities…We are an Ecuadorian company that complies with current legal regulations, and seeks to meet the highest standards of corporate social responsibility at national and international levels…The Ombudsman of Ecuador is particularly an institution that has always received our attention, and our position is to listen to your observations to maintain our policy of continuous improvement…We reject the methods used by certain organizations whose objective is to generate biased reports grounded on unjust generalizations, unverified claims and criticisms not objectively analysed…

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Article
14 May 2019

“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

March 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.

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