Noe Ramirez, Guatemalan trade unionist

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Tropical Fruit WorkersLatin America – Adelante Conference 2015 is an opportunity to hear directly about the struggle of the Guatemalan banana workers union.

Noé Ramirez Portela is General Secretary of the Izabal Banana Workers’ Union of Guatemala (SITRABI) which is the oldest private sector union in Guatemala. SITRABI represents over 4000 members in Del Monte and in Del Monte supplier farms on Guatemala’s Caribbean coast, and has good relations with other local unions in other multinational and national plantations.

Noé was elected General Secretary of SITRABI in 2000, shortly after the union’s Executive Committee was forced at gun point to resign their posts and call off strike action over contract violations. Guatemala is the second most dangerous Latin American country in which to be a trade unionist, and SITRABI has been devastated by a series of assassinations since Noé’s brother was killed in 2007. Since then, nine members of SITRABI have been murdered. None of the murders have been properly investigated by the authorities.

Despite this, SITRABI has been successful in managing to maintain collective bargaining and workers have managed to secure many of the elements of ‘Decent Work’.

Noé’s visit is being co-ordinated by the TUC and by Banana Link which works towards fair and sustainable tropical fruit trade and production in partnership with plantation worker unions and small farmer organisations in Latin America, Africa and Cameroon.

The TUC currently funds a project to support the organising and training of SITRABI members and representatives. Noe’s visit has been funded by Unite, UNISON, GMB, UCU and Aslef.

 

Latin America 2015 – Adelante! conference
Saturday 28th November 2015
TUC Congress House
Book your tickets here

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