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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Global food giant Dole accused of human rights hypocrisy

Posted to the IUF website 23-May-2006

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The IUF has welcomed a complaint from 74 human rights, student, women’s, consumers and labor rights organizations and trade unions from Europe and the U.S. charging the Dole Food company with a massive failure to respect human rights.
Click here for a full list of signatories

In a public letter to the company, the groups denounced Dole ’s failure to respect the basic human rights of workers, including freedom of association, the right to organize, and the right to bargain.

“From flower workers in Colombia to banana workers in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and the Cameroon, we see an unrelenting picture of a company that, with few exceptions, is opposed to the formation and establishment of independent democratic unions, denying thousands of workers their right to negotiate for improved working conditions, fair wages, and respect on the job,” said the organisations.

The complaint, which is in the form of a letter to the company's head office, is backed up by a separate report Dole, Behind the Smoke Screen, that contains detailed evidence from workers in Latin America of Dole’s refusal to ensure respect for these core rights, both in its directly-owned operations and those of its independent suppliers.

The report, issued by the IUF along with COLSIBA ( the Coordination of Latin American Banana Workers Unions), Fagligt Faelles Forbund (3Fs), the CGT (France), and several NGOs including US/LEAP (U.S.) Peuples Solidaires (France), Banana Link (U.K.), BanaFair (Germany) highlights the contradiction between Dole’s use of private certifications, the “smoke screen”, and the reality on the ground.
Click here for a copy of the report

“Dole has hidden behind a public relations smoke screen for years, declaring respect for human rights while doing the opposite on the ground in Latin America. It is past time for Dole to walk its talk” say the organisations.
In their letter to Dole, the organizations urged Dole “to make a commitment not only on paper, but also in practice” and say that they “will be evaluating Dole’s response against concrete indicators…measured in terms of increased numbers of workers covered by collective bargaining agreements.”

Dole Food, Inc., with U.S. $5 billion in annual revenues, is the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the largest producer of flowers in Latin America. Dole is headquartered in Los Angeles,CA., its European headquarters is in Paris.