-Here, I make 100 dollars a week. On other farms I would make 60 dollars, says Marlon Izquierda who is the foreman at an Asoguabo farm.
According to Fair Trade standards, the salary of a farmer’s employee has to be equal to or higher than the minimum salary or the regional average of comparable businesses.
-All the workers have social security paid by the employer. Asoguabo gives us a food bag every month and our kids money for school supplies every year. And we can use the Asoguabo clinics in Pasaje and El Guabo.
Fair Trade demands and controls that the farmers comply with national laws, and in Ecuador all employers have to pay their employees’ monthly social security payments.
According to fairtrade norms, the temporary employees have the right to equivalent benefits compared to permanent employees. Agusto Herrera Cruz is one of the temporary workers who come in on harvest day.
-A long time ago I worked for a big multinational. When we demanded a higher salary, they fired all 192 of us. That was in 1982. Here they treat me well. The boss is a good person.
Here’s how Fair Trade protects workers
Fair Trade demands that all its farmers follow the conventions of the International Labour Organization and national laws, and the ones who don’t risk losing their certification.
Fair Trade also has its own criteria, which are different for small farmers and plantations.
This means that the difference can be big between a fairtrade banana farm and the rest of the banana industry. In Ecuador, the banana industry is infamous for treating its workers badly. Read for example Human Rights Watch’s report on child labour and violence against union actives in Ecuador.