Colombia: SINTRAINAGRO demands and wins COVID-19 support and protection for banana workers
The rural workers' union SINTRAINAGRO has negotiated comprehensive COVID-19 support and health and safety protection measures for some 22,000 banana workers in an agreement signed on March 25 with the industry association Augura, representing national and transnational producers. The union insisted on the safety measures when the government decreed a partial country-wide lockdown which exempted many economic sectors, including agriculture.
The detailed agreement (available HERE in Spanish) includes: provisions for providing all workers with the necessary personal hygiene tools (face masks, disinfectant etc.); distribution points at the various work stations are to be posted 24 hours in advance at the various work sites; disinfectant and safe distancing measures for all transport; strict protocol for monitoring workers' temperature on a regular basis; and staggered meal provision, with strict enforcement of canteen hygiene. Local authorities will be notified if meal providers raise prices excessively.
Active workers over 65 and all workers with pre-existing medical conditions which place them at risk, including risky pregnancies, irrespective of the nature of their employment contracts, are exempted from work for the duration of the government decree and will receive the basic salary plus an 8% supplement.
Joint union-management health and safety committees will monitor implementation of the agreement.