Empowering women working on Chiquita banana farms
Women make an important contribution in the Chiquita’s farms by performing important farm work. Chiquita has very clear guidelines, codes of conduct and tools to avoid any incidents, and - should they occur – to pursue the matter with a zero-tolerance attitude. Chiquita empowers its employees to foster a work environment that is free from harassment, violence and discrimination.
In 2001, Chiquita became the first company in the banana sector to sign an international framework agreement with global and regional trade union organizations called the “IUF/ COLSIBA/Chiquita Agreement on Freedom of Association, Minimum Labor Standards and Employment in Latin America Banana Operations”As part of the IUF / COLSIBA / Chiquita agreement, a Women’s Committee was formed in 2011, which seeks improvement for women working in the banana farms. Its main goal is to promote and reinforce a safe workplace free of harassment, exclusion or inequality, and to improve the opportunities available to women by supporting their personal and professional development. This innovative model was included in the agenda of the World Banana Forum working group on labor rights and working conditions, to be supported and replicated.
In the spirit of, and in line with, the IUF / COLSIBA / Chiquita agreement, Chiquita and the local union Sitraibana in Panama set up a pilot program to serve as a role model case and as a learning experience for everyone: employees, unions and Chiquita operations. Coordinated work efforts resulted in improvements in the conditions for women working in the farms as well as the prioritization of women for specific farm tasks that were usually done by men in the past.
Chiquita will continue to do its best to improve women’s occupational well-being, safety, freedom from harassment, equal treatment and job opportunities.