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9,5% pay rise for sugar cane workers

Story of Change


"With the data at our finger tips, we negotiate better wages!" In 2022, Nicaraguan unions negotiated a major pay rise of 9.5% with the sugar factories. 35,000 workers and their families benefit from their success. 



“We've learned a great deal about living wages, especially since CNV Internationaal has become a member of Bonsucro, the sugar certification organisation. 

Unions now work for more than just the sugar plantations at the beginning of the value chain. We also reach buyers, merchants, producers, and certification agents from higher up in the chains."



A step towards a living wage

The Nicaraguan federation of sugar unions, CONFETRAYD, led the negotiations. Carlos Ramirez of Sintracom, the union for the sugar factory in Montelimar, was involved in the discussions. “This is a step towards achieving a living wage. Governments and multinationals talk about living wages, but wages are still nowhere near that level. In the future, we hope to be able to get this for our workers. That would change their lives.

Fair Work Monitor

Unions started using the Fair Work Monitor in 2022. CNV Internationaal has developed this participatory monitoring tool which unions can use to collect data and information about working conditions. Carlos said, “Unions need to be able to collect good data for themselves if they want to negotiate successfully. Data on things like salaries and the cost of living. Having accurate data will give us an edge when we negotiate and lead to more successes.”

Carlos Ramirez, union worker for Sintracom


CONFETRAYD is also a member of the Network of Sugar Unions in Latin America. Unions from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua collaborate through this network. CNV Internationaal supports them in various ways, such as providing training on how to use the Fair Work Monitor and how to calculate living wages. 

“In the network, we work on common goals. When one of the other unions gets improvements to their Collective Bargaining Agreements, we can implement them in our CBAs as well,” says Carlos Ramirez of Sintracom, the union for Montelimar, the Nicaraguan sugar factory. 

Publication date 22 08 2023