As one of the world’s biggest fruit exporters, Peru has more than 800,000 workers in the sector. Persistent work disputes in a banana-growing region in northern Peru prompted Fairtrade International to team up with trade union and producer representatives, a labour rights NGO and a local labour expert to find a lasting solution. In collaboration with relevant stakeholders, Fairtrade explored various options for improving the management of workplace disputes and decided to establish a permanent platform for dialogue, grievance handling and conflict resolution: a roundtable, run by the farmers’ organisations and the union themselves.
Representatives from Peru’s national network of Fairtrade producers (CNCJ-PERU) and the Latin American Coordinating Body of Banana and Agro-industrial Workers’ Unions (COLSIBA) played an instrumental role; the producers recognise that working closely with this umbrella organisation was crucial for establishing a successful dialogue. While the representatives worked to gain support for the dialogue project, Fairtrade supported the formation process with financial resources and training. Additionally, Fairtrade established a training programme in human resources management and dispute resolution, tailored to the needs of the banana associations and cooperatives.
These efforts have strengthened worker-employer relations; the roundtable has become a vehicle for conflict resolution, thanks to its strong focus on dialogue, the training provided and the willingness of the parties involved to collaborate. This conflict resolution process, initially driven by Fairtrade, is now managed by the producers themselves.