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Agricultural Workers News

Food and farm workers in Pakistan call for a sustainable sugar industry 04-04-2016


IUF affiliates in Pakistan representing workers in sugar mills, transnational food and beverage companies  and agricultural farms and plantations launched a joint campaign for "sustainable sugar" and a rights-based approach to mitigating climate change.

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First union of agricultural women workers launched in Pakistan 02-04-2016

3_0The first union of women agricultural workers, Sindh Haryani Union, was launched in Pakistan with over 500 members from seven rural districts in Sindh province.Union members are engaged in planting and harvesting crops on farms that grow wheat, barley, cotton, rice, vegetables, and sugar cane. At the founding conference union members spoke about the impact of climate change that has made insecure seasonal work even more uncertain, with unstable incomes leading to growing debt and poverty.
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Tell the European Commission to ban glyphosate and get off the pesticide treadmill! 31-03-2016

IUFPANThe European Commission must be stopped from approving renewed authorization in the European Union of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup and the world's most widely-used herbicide. Renewed authorization is being pushed through despite the United Nations' World Health Organization warning last year that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic and mounting evidence of pervasive glyphosate residues in our food and our bodies. The IUF and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International are calling for messages to the European Commission and its relevant bodies urging them to ban glyphosate in the EU and to provide comprehensive support for a safer, saner food system which does not put agricultural workers in the front lines of exposure and inject massive quantities of toxic chemicals into the environment. CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE

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Forced labour and repression continue in Uzbekistan's cotton harvest 24-03-2016

Agroecology - the way to phase out HHPs and get off the pesticides treadmill 23-03-2016


A new guide from Pesticides Action Network International shows how agroecology can be used to phase out highly hazardous pesticides - a major health hazard for many agricultural workers. It brings together case studies from all regions of the world and is available free as a download.
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MEPs oppose plans to re-authorise glyphosate and call for scientific evidence to be disclosed 23-03-2016


European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Food Safety & Public Health formally objects to re-authorization of glyphosate and calls for scientific evidence to be disclosed.
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The European Union must exit the pesticide treadmill: time to ban glyphosate 22-03-2016

industrialsprayingResistance from member states and mobilized citizens has postponed renewed authorization in the European Union of the toxic herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup and the world's most widely-used herbicide. But a vote will take place in May, and additional pressure is needed to ensure that the European Commission does not cut a deal with the corporate agrochemical giants which would keep Europe locked into the deadly spiral of increasing pesticide applications for another fifteen years.
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At last a global guide on banned pesticides 17-03-2016


Pesticide Action Network (PAN) has produced a consolidated list of banned pesticides which will be updated approximately every 6 months. PAN has drawn up the list in response to frequent demands for information on product bans and because "there appears to be no other source for such information".
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Human Rights Council moves ahead with declaration on the rights of rural workers 15-03-2016


The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) will resume negotiations in May 2016 on a Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. The IUF will submit its views.
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Save our jobs! Affiliates in Guyana fight closure of sugar estate 10-03-2016


Save our jobs - IUF affiliates in Guyana battle to save Wales estate where 1700 sugar workers' jobs are at stake while the IUF calls on the Minister of Agriculture to come to the negotiating table.
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International Women's Day 2016 - join us in the fight for women's right to food, water and social protection 07-03-2016

childcarryingwater1smallWomen are disproportionally affected by malnutrition and food insecurity. Today, some 793 million people are chronically undernourished, of whom 70 percent are women. The causes of women's massive overrepresentation among those who are deprived of one of the most essential human rights - the right to food - are also well known. They include discrimination with regard to access to employment, pay equity and property rights, lack of maternity protection and access to child care facilities and an unequal burden of family responsibilities.
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Colombia: SINTRAINAGRO warns of catastrophic impact of 'free trade' on sugar industry livelihoods 16-02-2016

The National Union of Agroindustry Workers of Colombia (SINTRAINAGRO) is calling for a radical change of government economic policies which threaten the livelihoods of more than 750,000 sugarcane workers and their families in the departments of Valle del Cauca and Risaralda.
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State violence denounced in Korea, calls to defend farmers' livelihoods in the face of corporate 'free trade' deals 03-12-2015

During the brutal police crackdown on a mass demonstration in Seoul by unions, farmers and civic groups on November 14, 69 year old farmer Baek Nam-gi was struck down by a water cannon aimed directly at his face by riot police. Police continued to fire on protesters attempting to carry the unconscious Baek to an ambulance. 

Uzbekistan: the World Bank must speak out when rights activists are beaten and detained for documenting forced labour in cotton 17-11-2015

957The government of Uzbekistan continues its brutal crackdown on human rights defenders documenting the massive use of forced labour in the cotton harvest. The World Bank, which is financing the 'modernization' of Uzbek agriculture, is supposed to be monitoring the presence of forced labour. What is it doing in the face of this crackdown?  CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE WORLD BANK!

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World Food Day 2015: agricultural workers continue to die from lack of access to potable water 16-10-2015

waterislifeAgriculture is by far the biggest user of water. Five years ago, in 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the universal right to safe drinking water and sanitation and linked it to the human right to food. ILO Conventions affirm the obligation of states and employers to ensure that agricultural workers have adequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Despite this, millions of agricultural workers lack access to safe water at work and in their homes and die every year as a result.   
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India - BBC report confirms appalling conditions on Assam's tea plantations 10-09-2015

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has produced a shocking report on working conditions on Assam's tea estates, which provide tea for many of the world's leading companies
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BBC tea report shows further failures by Rainforest Alliance 10-09-2015

The BBC report was highly critical of the Rainforest Alliance, which certifies large parts of the tea industry for global companies like Tata and Unilever
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Agricultural and plantation workers' unions call for paraquat ban in India 10-08-2015

On August 5 agricultural and plantation unions from ten states in India joined the "Goodbye Paraquat!" meeting organized by the IUF, developing a national action plan to raise awareness of its risks and to secure a complete ban on its manufacture, sale and use. 

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NUW targets supermarkets to combat criminal exploitation of migrant workers in Australia's food industry 23-06-2015

The National Union of Workers (NUW) is holding Australia's largest supermarket chains accountable for human rights abuses in their supply chains. The Fair Food Australia campaign calls for union access to farms and factories to ensure compliance with labour standards and adequate worker protection. The campaign follows the publication of a report by the Fair Work Ombudsman documenting criminal exploitation of migrant workers by labour contractors supplying Baiada, Australia's largest poultry processor.

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World Day Against Child Labour - new website on agriculture and new report on decent work for young people 12-06-2015

ipcclaTo mark the World Day Against Child Labour on June 12, members of the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture which includes the IUF, have launched a joint website (only in English so far) to bring together information and news on elimination of child labour in the sector.
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ILO Experts highlight dismal working conditions in the rural sector 12-06-2015

"Inequitable labour relations and distribution of benefits… severe socio-economic disadvantage.. insanitary living conditions" are among the problems highlighted in Giving a voice to rural workers, one of the reports currently under discussion at this year's International Labour Conference (ILC).
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Agricultural workers and farmers federation secures national recognition in Myanmar 24-05-2015

Agricultural workers and farmers in Myanmar call for ban on paraquat 24-05-2015

Agricultural workers and farmers from nine states/regions in Myanmar participated in a two-day IUF training seminar on herbicides, focusing on paraquat and glyphosate. Members of the IUF-affiliated AFFM studied the severe harm paraquat causes to health and the environment. Paraquat - often sold in containers labelled only in Thai and Chinese - is used extensively in Myanmar on major food crops.
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UN special rapporteur 'deeply troubled' by asbestos and paraquat impasse 08-05-2015

Workers Memorial Day - April 28 2015: paraquat too big a risk to life and health 28-04-2015

Roundup, the WHO and the pesticide treadmill 24-04-2015

On March 20, the UK journal Lancet Oncology published the summary of a report by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)) which classified glyphosate - the active ingredient in Monsanto's RoundUp and the world's most widely-used herbicide - as "probably carcinogenic to humans."
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Palm oil - international union meeting says moratorium urgently needed 20-03-2015

Colombian sugarcane workers win permanent jobs following brutal attack on strikers 09-03-2015

Risaralda1The IUF-affiliated SINTRAINAGRO has won direct, permanent contracts for cane cutters at the Risaralda mill in western Colombia's Cauca Valley. The breakthrough agreement was signed on March 5 following a brutal attack on strikers by state anti-riot forces and company guards.

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Armed attack on Colombian SINTRAINAGRO leaders 26-02-2015

India: Tea workers denounce agreement on starvation wages, continue fight for a living wage 25-02-2015

Tea workers in West Bengal have rejected the tripartite wage agreement signed on February 20 that sets wages below the poverty line for the next three years.
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Indian police stop mass protest against land grabs 12-01-2015

INDIA: Thousands of women agricultural workers mobilize to demand living wage rights 11-01-2015

In the lead up to International Women's Day 2015 thousands of women agricultural workers in Gujarat are holding mass meetings at district level to promote living wage rights.
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On International Migrants Day, IUF and Amnesty call on Korean government to end systematic abuse of migrant agricultural workers 18-12-2014

On International Migrants Day, December 18, the IUF and Amnesty International Korean organizations capped their two-month joint campaign with a declaration and joint press conference calling on the government to protect the right of migrant agricultural workers in the country to live and work in safe conditions.
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Unions organize against new Indian government's attack on rural employment 16-12-2014

nrega2India's new right wing government has lost no time in proving its 'business-friendly' credentials by attacking the world's biggest employment program, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), a vital support for the country's rural poor. Unions have begun organizing the fight back.

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Myanmar agricultural workers and farmers organize against contract farming threat 12-12-2014

WorkshopposterWorkers and small farmers must build collective bargaining power in the face of growing corporate control of agriculture or risk falling into debt and dependency. Organizing to build that power was the theme of the recent 'Beware of Contract Farming' training workshops for members of the IUF-affiliated Agriculture and Farmers Federation of Myanmar (AFFM-IUF).

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Government of South Korea must act to halt massive abuse of migrant agricultural workers 28-10-2014

The migrant workers on whom South Korean agriculture depends suffer appalling living and working conditions, and the government's Employment Permit Scheme (EPS) directly contributes to this exploitation, according to a new report (Bitter Harvest) from Amnesty International. The report documents intimidation and violence, squalid accommodation, excessive working hours, unpaid overtime, an absence of weekly rest days and workers forced to apply pesticides without protective clothing. CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT

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Rural development workers in Niger continue strike action for pay equity 27-10-2014

World Food Security Committee puts corporate investors before human rights 17-10-2014

Kenya: KUSPAW branch reaches collective agreement at Nzoia Sugar Company 16-10-2014

On 24 September 2014, an agreement for Nzoia Sugar was concluded at Kisumu during the joint industrial council, covering a total of 931 unionisable employees, including 75 women.
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World Food Day 2014 - plantation workers still Harvesting Hunger 15-10-2014

HarvestingHungerThe IUF together with the NGOs Misereor and FIAN is launching Harvesting Hunger - Plantation Workers and the Right to Food to mark World Food Day on October 16. The booklet highlights the massive violation of plantation workers' right to food resulting from their low wages and the routine exclusion of this scandalous situation from food security debates.
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New threats to trade unionists in Colombia 14-10-2014

Brazil: CONTAG, IUF demand urgent action to halt violence against rural workers and trade unions 28-08-2014

Tobacco companies must act to stop migrant US farmworker abuse! 23-07-2014

Every year thousands of migrant workers, many from Mexico, arrive to work in the US tobacco fields. They spend months in labor camps with deplorable living conditions, suffer from illnesses resulting from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides and work long hours for sub-poverty wages. Tobacco companies can and must act to end these abuses.
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Organizing, Fighting & Winning against land grabs in Myanmar 10-05-2014

Farmers and agricultural workers in Myanmar denounce land grabs, call for measures to guarantee food rights and sustainable food production 30-04-2014

Life after Suicide? New Seeds, New Threats 28-04-2014

Terminator seeds may soon crop up in a field near you. The "suicide seeds" that die at harvest time (requiring new seed purchases every sowing season) have languished under a UN moratorium since 2000 but may be legalized this year in Brazil.
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No to GMOs! - a view from IUF Africa 21-03-2014

Agriculture in Africa threatens to be undermined by the G8's New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and by Public/Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives led by African governments and African elites fronting for multinational corporations promoting high-input monoculture production, including transgenic (GMO) crops.
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Enduring abuses on India's tea plantations 04-03-2014

Top law school report documents "sub-standard housing, acute hazards in sanitation and denial of statutory benefits" on Tata's tea plantations in Assam, India.
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Action brings progress, strike suspended at FloraHolland 14-02-2014

The unions at Dutch flower auction FloraHolland suspended their strike on February 12 when the company finally agreed to negotiate on their demands. The negotiations followed a mass march by the strikers to the company's head office. The details will be finalized and members will vote on the agreement next week.
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New strike action in the Netherlands at flower giant FloraHolland 05-02-2014

Bangladesh: Five day strike by farm workers launches national rights campaign 30-09-2013