Sunday, November 09, 2008

The following item is from the Banana Link, an organization devoted to improving working conditions in the banana industry.

Costa Rican unions lodge complaint with EU:
Trade unions from both private and public sector in Costa Rica have lodged a formal complaint against their government, alleging serious and systematic violations of core international labour standards. The complaint is directed to the European Commission which, since January 2006, grants trade preferences on a wide range of products as part of its Generalised System of Preferences "Plus" scheme.

Beneficiary countries are granted the preferences on the basis that they respect eight core international labour standards and other human rights and environmental conventions. The Costa Rican union confederation, Central Social Juanito Mora Porras (CSJMP), alleges violations of the freedom for trade unions to organise and to bargain collectively with employers, citing a wide range of examples from the private sector, including the banana and pineapple industries, as well as from the public sector.

A complaint was first lodged in Brussels by CSJMP in September 2006, but the unions have never received a direct response from officials in Brussels, despite the existence of formal complaint mechanism under the GSP Plus scheme. In a response to British trade union GMB from Commissioner Mandelson in October 2007, the EU did state that the Costa Rican government had promised the ILO that it would make legislative changes as a response to the problems. However, in the absence of any legislative action by the Costa Rican government and in the face of worsening labour standards violations in the public and private sectors of the country, CSJMP have renewed and updated their complaint in the hope of a direct response from the Commission. The complaint was delivered today to the offices of the EU delegation in San José, Costa Rica.
The updated document detailing the violations (in Spanish only) can be downloaded here .

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