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May 28, 2002

HONDURAS: Chiquita workers strike over contracts, pesticide poisoning

Around 2,000 banana workers employed by Chiquita Brands International went on strike in Tegucigalpa yesterday [Monday] in protest against alleged contract violations and the continued use of dangerous pesticides in packaging. The strike will carry on indefinitely until the Cincinnati-based company meets workers demands, said Oscar Amaya, a representative of the banana workers union.

Around 2,000 banana workers employed by Chiquita Brands International went on strike in Tegucigalpa yesterday [Monday] in protest against alleged contract violations and the continued use of dangerous pesticides in packaging.

The strike will carry on indefinitely until the Cincinnati-based company meets workers demands, said Oscar Amaya, a representative of the banana workers union.

“The use of pesticide [in the bags in which bananas are packed for shipping] affects the workers’ health,” Amaya told radio HRN. He added that Chiquita is also trying to change the worker’s hours and displace union workers with non-union employees.

Chiquita has meanwhile denied that the pesticide was a health risk.

The strike has shut down operations at the Tela Railroad Company, which last year exported 12 million 18-kg boxes of bananas, about 50% of Honduras’s total banana exports.

To read about the problems facing striking banana workers in Ecuador, click here.

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