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Agricultural Workers News

Agriculture and Farmers Federation of Myanmar calls for an end to violence and discrimination in Rakhine state 26-09-2017

The IUF-affiliated Agriculture and Farmers Federation of Myanmar (AFFM) has called for "an end to violence in Rakhine state where many people have died and been rendered homeless."

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Orchard workers in New Zealand win the right to potable water 15-08-2017

IUF affiliate FIRST union was astounded to discover that workers employed in kiwi fruit orchards in the north of New Zealand had been denied access to clean drinking water. When workers requested drinking water they were told they could drink the irrigation water which is unfit for human consumption, from a tap situated next to toilets not connected to a sanitation system.

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FLAI-CGIL 'on the field again' to organize migrant farmworkers 03-08-2017

Italian, Tunisian unions reinforce cooperation to support migrant workers' rights 27-07-2017

Against a background of rising xenophobia and closing borders in Europe, the Italian and Tunisian agrofood unions FLAI-CGIL and FGTA-UGTT are expanding their joint efforts to protect the rights of Tunisians working in Italy's agricultural and related sectors.

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Defend US farmworkers' right to organize! 10-07-2017

1083Following a series of recent farmworker wins in the Southern United States, farmers elected to the North Carolina State Legislature are trying to use their legislative power to stop workers on their own farms from organizing for better wages and working conditions. Farm Bill S615 aims to stop the progress that farmworkers are achieving by making it illegal for farmers to deduct dues from union members as well as making it more difficult for farmworkers to win union contracts. Join FLOC and the IUF in calling on North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to veto the bill - CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE

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Tea plantation workers highlight human right to water & sanitation on World Water Day 22-03-2017

WWD5_0On March 22, World Water Day, tea plantation workers in the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal assembled to demand the right to water and sanitation. In tea plantations supplying the world's biggest tea brands, workers and their families have limited access to safe drinking water and the latrines in the housing provided by companies are outside their homes, with no running water, no lights and often no doors.
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European Chemicals Agency capitulates to agrochemical lobby on glyphosate 21-03-2017

StopglyphosateIn a March 15 decision that violates the precautionary principle, scientific evidence and the European Union's presumed commitment to public health, worker protection and the defense of the environment, the Risk Assessment Committee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) ruled that the toxic herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, is not carcinogenic. CLICK HERE to sign the European Citizens' Initiative petition.

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Leading rights defender confined to 'psychiatric treatment' for seeking to expose forced labour in Uzbekistan's cotton fields 21-03-2017

ElenaUrlaevaUPDATE: Elena Urlaeva was released on March 24 after 23 days of forced psychiatric 'treatment', a victory for the international campaign.
Elena Urlaeva, a leading human rights activist who has dedicated years to combating child labour and forced labour in Uzbekistan's cotton production, was detained by police on March 1 to prevent her attending a meeting with the International Trade Union Confederation and the World Bank. She was then forcibly committed to a psychiatric hospital, where she remains today. CLICK HERE to send a message to the government of Uzbekistan!

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Fresh fruit giant Fyffes is bashing rights 24-01-2017

1041Workers at transnational fruit giant Fyffes subsidiaries in Costa Rica (pineapples) and Honduras (melons) report serious and systematic violations of basic labour rights, including threats, harassment and sacking of union members, blocking collective bargaining processes, failure to pay minimum wages and social insurance, exposing workers to hazardous agrochemicals and sacking pregnant workers. Fyffes is the number one importer of bananas to Europe, and among the largest global marketers for supersweet pineapples and winter season melons. CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO FYFFES!

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Fruit giant Fyffes told it must ensure its workers’ rights are respected 23-01-2017

The IUF and the Make Fruit Fair network are calling on Irish fruit transnational Fyffes to end rights abuses on its subsidiary plantations. At the Emergency General Meeting on January 16, 2017 to confirm the takeover of Fyffes by Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo, protesters demanded that Fyffes reinstate workers sacked and blacklisted for joining trade unions in Costa Rica and Honduras, pay unpaid wages, holiday entitlement, education grants and social security contributions, and compensate workers unfairly dismissed because they became pregnant.
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Unions push through tough new Italian legislation to combat human trafficking in agriculture 16-12-2016

tomatoesFollowing a sustained mobilization by the IUF's agro-food affiliates, tough new legislation to eliminate human trafficking in agriculture has been ratified by Italy's Parliament and came into effect on November 4. According to FLAI-CGIL, Italy has now established in law, for the first time, the crime of worker exploitation.
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Settlement ends 14-week strike at South Africa's Robertson Winery 25-11-2016

Following a tough recognition struggle and 14-week strike, CSAAWU, the union representing workers at Robertson Winery in the Western Cape, has reached a settlement which will see workers returning to work on November 28.
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Thousands mourn Korean farmer activist Baek Nam-gi, the struggle continues 07-11-2016

http://www.iuf.org/w/sites/default/files/Baek2small.jpgOn November 6, thousands gathered for the funeral procession of farmer leader Baek Nam-gi in Gwangju Geumnamno Square, site of the 1980 democracy uprising. The protestors reiterated calls for the authorities to be held accountable and to hold an official investigation into his death.

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Bangladesh: union mobilizes to defend workers at public agency supplying seed to farmers 03-11-2016

BDACdemo2The IUF-affiliated Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF) and the National Women Farmers & Workers Association (NWFA) held a joint rally on October 25 in Dhaka, forming a human chain around the National Press Club to highlight the deteriorating situation of workers at the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) and the progressive weakening of public research and seed provision to farmers.
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Uzbekistan: government ratifies ILO Convention 87, forced labour and repression continue 02-11-2016

957In 2016, as in previous years, the government of Uzbekistan continues to rely on the massive use of forced labour in the cotton harvest and harsh repression of rights activists. On October 13, the day the government ratified ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association, the authorities detained four journalists reporting on forced labour.
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Korea: Police aggression continues at funeral of farmer union leader Baek Nam-gi 25-10-2016

Korea6Today police were deployed at the funeral hall where the family of Baek Nam-gi is attempting to hold a ceremony following his death on September 25 after 317 days in a coma.
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Italy: new union initiatives to combat widespread abuses of migrant agricultural labour 12-10-2016

Sikhworkersstrike2The IUF-affiliated FLAI-CGIL has launched important new organizing initiatives to combat massive rights abuses in Italian agriculture by breaking the grip of the criminal networks of caporalato (gangmasters) on vulnerable migrant workers. The system of labour agents who provide workers and enforce discipline condemns workers to living in dangerous and degrading  makeshift rural 'ghettoes' and working under hazardous conditions for payment below the minimum set by collective agreements and the law.

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IUF Bangladesh affiliate rallies to demand justice for victims of factory fire disaster 21-09-2016

Certifying destruction at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil 14-09-2016

Labour and environmental rights defenders have long criticized the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the organization claiming to promote sustainable palm oil production, for its loose standards for certifying producers in an industry marked by widespread human rights violations and environmental destruction. Now a major palm oil producer linked to extensive deforestation, the Malaysia-based IOI Group, has sued the RSPO to regain its revoked accreditation - and apparently succeeded.
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Young agricultural workers in Myanmar, Bangladesh and India demand secure jobs and a living wage 23-08-2016


As part of International Youth Day activities coordinated by IUF Asia/Pacific across the region on August 12, young agricultural workers and farmers in Myanmar, Bangladesh and India mobilized to demand the right to a living wage, stable incomes and secure jobs.

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Demand justice for Korean farmer Baek Nam-gi 01-08-2016

BaekKorean farmer Baek Nam-gi remains unconscious in a hospital bed in Seoul after he was struck down by police water cannon in the mass demonstration last November against the government's promotion of greater casual employment and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After he was knocked to the ground, police continued to aim the deadly water cannon at him and on participants attempting to come to his aid. Amnesty International Korea has launched an online petition campaign for  justice - CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION!

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Broad opposition halts EU glyphosate reauthorization - for how long? 14-06-2016

StopglyphosateStrong mobilization by a wide coalition of citizen groups including trade unions has succeeded in temporarily blocking renewed EU authorization of glyphosate, the world's most widely-used herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup. The European Commission and national governments are maneuvering between pressure from the agrochemical lobby, organized in the Glyphosate Task Force, and a popular insurgency which shows no signs of going away.

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African plantation and farmworker unions urge EU to halt glyphosate reauthorization 12-05-2016

StopglyphosateIUF affiliates in 7 African countries - Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia - have lent their support to the campaign to halt glyphosate reauthorization in the European Union.
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Support US farmworkers blacklisted for speaking out! 02-05-2016

A Life without dignity - the price of your cup of tea 01-05-2016


A damning report on the working and living conditions of India's tea workers was launched on May 1, International Labour Day, by the IUF and the Global Network for the Right to Food and Nutrition. The report documents how poverty wages and harsh working conditions lead to massive violations of the right to food and nutrition and other human rights of tea workers. The situation of women workers, who make up 70% of a workforce of 1.2 million, is examined in detail.
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Uzbekistan - defend human rights defenders monitoring abuses in the cotton harvest 29-04-2016


Uktam Pardaev was arrested on November 16, 2015 and held for eight weeks in pre-trial detention. His crime? Reporting on forced and child labour in Uzbekistan's cotton harvest. On January 11, 2016 he was given a three year conditional sentence under which he has to remain at home under constant surveillance by security services. Click here to support the campaign to end this harassment by the Uzbek government.

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IUF's message to OECD agriculture ministers - don't ignore workers 20-04-2016


Trade union delegation to OECD agriculture ministers' meeting calls for recognition of contribution agricultural and food workers to achieving global food security.
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Urgent action update: European Parliament proposes 7 year re-authorization of glyphosate with strict use limitations - IUF vows to fight on for global ban 20-04-2016

IUFPANParliament rejects European Commision plans to re-authorize glyphosate for 15 years and says Commission is failing to protect human health and apply the precautionary principle.
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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