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Fairfood and CNV intensify cooperation

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Improving safety, health and employment rights at the beginning of the food chain

CNV Internationaal’s manager Ms Marie José Alting von Geusau and Fairfood director Anselm Iwundu,  signed a new agreement to intensify their long term cooperation through the coming years. Sustainability ... a term we usually associate with production and raw materials. But sustainability is also an issue in how workers work and live. In companies at the beginning of the food chain or in the cultivation of crops like cocoa and pineapple, CNV Internationaal works with local union parties to improve people's safety, health and employment rights. Practice shows that this benefits all parties involved. If labour conditions improve, the work quality usually follows suit. CNV Internationaal has already initiated projects with trade union organisations from countries including Ghana, Colombia and Indonesia. Commissioned by CNV Internationaal, the FairFood organisation trained local unions. They map out the labour rights at the start of our food chain and then aim to improve them in collaboration with the industry.

Colombia

Last year, the Confederacion General de Trabajadores de Colombia CGT (General Labour Confederation) first became involved in the Confederations - Fairfood – CNV project. We asked Willington Triana Marquez, head of the project this year, why the CGT considered important to continue with the process and what he does expects of our cooperation

“The CGT shelters really anyone who is occupationally active and organized. We cover a very heterogeneous population sector, which is not present in other labor unions: youth, associations of community action boards, indigenous, craftsmen. With Fairfood´s project, the Confederation can get closer to these people who are a bit forgotten.

It is a world to explore for the social and labor movement and furthermore, these workers give true importance to the sector since they move much of the country’s economy. One of the most important issues facing workers at the beginning of the production chains is precarious work. The mechanism of contracting workers through cooperatives is a model that left many workers without protection of their rights, whilst earning starvation wages. This occurs a lot in the supply chains of coffee, bananas, blackberries, and to a large extent also in the cultivation of sugar in the Valle del Cauca. The advocacy strategy of the CGT has focused on promoting decent work. An example is the tripartite agreement between employers, government, and workers. The agreement plans the dismantling of worker cooperatives, the implementation of monitoring mechanisms for workers, and the entailment of new inspectors that will attend palm, cutting and mining sector. The CGT hopes that these studies and investigations indicate the value of our peasants and the environment; the work of these men and women who every day till the soil, care for the rivers and trees, because they are fundamental to our existence.”

Publicatiedatum 08 07 2013