Regional Agenda of The Women Trade Unionists of the Banana and Agroindustrial Sector of Latin America

Publication Date: 

April 17, 2017



Coordinating Body of Latin American Banana and Agroindustrial Unions (COLSIBA), Women’s Program

(Leer en español) 

You can read relevant contract clauses that accompany this regional agenda here.


This Agenda has been created with the intended goal to orientate and organize women laboring in different lines of work in the banana and agroindustrial sector, with the objective of building a union agenda that will allow women to advance in the work place in order to improve their labor conditions, and strengthen trade union organizations.

This agenda will allow us to better plan our work, as it will foster women worker performance that is more sustainable and effective, and will have a positive effect on gender equity and equality.

[This agenda] was designed in a meeting held on June 29th and 30th, 2001, in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was ratified by the Coordinating Committee of COLSIBA at the sixth Latin American conference, which took place August 8 -11, 2001, in Apartado, Colombia

It was revised and updated in the regional meeting held from March 24 - 27, 2004, in Puerto Cortes, Honduras.

On February 27th, 2012, during an international meeting for the World Banana Forum, the agenda was reviewed, and it was concluded that it is necessary to make adjustments. In 2007, COLSIBA has organized in other agricultural sectors and this must redefine the work [within the agenda] to focus on the new sectors.

The work agenda allows us, as women, to have more clarity about the strategies that will implemented in the workplace, in union-related spaces, and in a broader social sense, for the benefit of women, to strengthen our union organizations.


On Working Conditions

  1. Encourage meetings with the Ministries of Labor and other bodies related to women's issues in each country to discuss the conditions and demands of women in the banana sector mentioned in the present agenda, as well as to discuss other laws and labor agreements in force.
  2. Encourage meetings with companies and governments to address improving working conditions for women; specifically with respect to the framework being considered as part of national and international legislation, and arguing for more adequate involvement in the World Banana Forum.
  3. Promote the inclusion of women in negotiation committees for collective bargaining agreements, in order to achieve the implementation of specific clauses that benefit women as it relates to economic, social, regulatory, vocational, environmental, hygiene, and occupational safety factors, as well as partisan trade union policy. We must also continue advocacy for the  Banana Women’s Rights Platform [Spanish acronym: PRMB].
  4. Promote the training of women workers as it relates to advocacy for working conditions, particularly in relation to work safety; occupational and reproductive health; stability, work equity and dignity; as well as collective bargaining, among others.
  5. Establish roundtable discussions with health and social security authorities.


On Female Employment and Unemployment

  1. Promote the hiring of female labor within plantations of the agricultural industry, without discrimination based on age, health, religion, sexual orientation, culture, or level of education. To support the facilitation of roundtable discussions with transnational companies and national agricultural producers.
  2. Strengthen and promote technical education processes aimed at improving women workers’ qualifications within the agricultural industry, through the signing of agreements and conventions with organizations linked to training and training processes.
  3. Promote the exchange of experiences with other sectors for review and analysis of collective bargaining; its achievements and limits, to reclaim and consolidate the rights of women in future negotiations.
  4. Design and execute campaigns to denounce violations of labor rights, discrimination based on age, sex, religion, culture and health. To denounce sexual harassment and access to decent work with working hours established according to the law, as well as conditions that abide by the law, and fair wages.


On General Social Conditions

  1. Promote union literacy programs for women and men in the agricultural industry
  2. Promote community talks to spread awareness of domestic violence, discuss self-esteem, sexual and reproductive health, and productive work.
  3. Unions promote the participation of women and men workers of the agricultural industry in different commissions, with respect to the educational, social, municipal and patronage spheres, in order to improve the quality of life of the workers within the agricultural industry in an integral manner.
  4. Promote awareness campaigns for male leaders, with the purpose of supporting and respecting the work of women in order to create a more unified trade union organization.
  5. Within COLSIBA, promote the improvement of the workers’ capacity to carry out the management of social projects for women agroindustrial workers.
  6. Promote strategies for the formulation and achievement of worker compensation, retirement plans and pension for work accidents and / or occupational diseases.


On Occupational Health and the Environment

  1. Complete a diagnosis and elaborate a guide on working conditions, environmental and occupational diseases that affect women agroindustrial workers.
  2. Carry out orientations for agroindustrial workers on basic occupational health protection and prevention.
  3. Promote the creation of hygiene and safety committees with the participation of women workers in the agro-industry.
  4. Develop a training and empowerment process for the hygiene and safety commissions of workers affiliated with the agricultural union in order that they take action, with the support of the organizations in charge of health and other strategic allies.
  5. Prioritize the training and development of proposals and regional strategies on pesticides for occupational health commissions.
  6. Continue to strengthen work on occupational and reproductive health to open spaces that allow women access to quality healthcare, especially as a means to strengthen their social rights.


Regarding Women & Leadership

  1. Strengthen and promote technical education processes to improve the general qualification of women workers in the agro-industry, through the signing of agreements and alliances with organizations linked to training and training processes.
  2. Design and execute strategies to organize [union] affiliation of workers of the agro-industry, especially those employed under the conditions set forth by contractors and independent farms.
  3. Expand spaces for coordination and communication with union leaders within the Latin American agroindustry.
  4. Search and apply to proposals that expand projects that promote access to human, logistical and financial resources for the increased development of the Women's Secretariats and Committees at the national and regional levels.
  5. Promote the strengthening of Women's Secretariats and Commissions within agricultural unions of each country, through clearly established roles, planning, management, monitoring and evaluation instruments.


On Women and Politics

This issue is new in this agenda. This does not imply that it is new as it pertains to the work of unionized women workers within the banana sector, and broader agricultural sector, given the fact that several women workers have participated in the political processes within their respective countries. For example, our comrade, Doris Garcia, of ATC in Nicaragua, participated in a delegation with her comrade, Adela Torres, of SINTRAINAGRO in Colombia, and presented themselves at the council of their municipality. Additionally, our comrade Selfa Sandoval, of SITRABI in Guatemala, and Gloria Garcia of COLSIBA (Now FESTAGRO) in Honduras who ran for the mayoral office. Although they did not win, all of them have gained positive experience in this area. Thus, we consider it necessary to continue working on:

  1. The empowerment of women and their leadership, and continuing the search for related to the political issues of their country.
  2. Promote new attitudes and capacities for the inclusion of women in national politics by the various means of power.
  3. Search for alliances with other women's organizations that handle relevant issues and who hold common ideals in the pursuit of improving conditions for women.


The updating, design and editing of the "Regional Agenda for Women Workers of the Banana and Agricultural Sectors” was made possible thanks to the team work of the national coordinators, as well as the regional coordination which they have developed. Also by the financial support of 3F Denmark.

Women who participated in the update of the Regional Agenda on February 27, 2012, in Guayaquil Ecuador: Gloria Garcia de Cosibah (now FESTAGRO) Honduras, Mireya Rodriguez of COSIBA Costa Rica, Carmen Alexandra Nancy of FENACLE Ecuador, Doris Garcia of ATC Nicaragua, Selfa Sandoval of SITRABI Guatemala and Fátima Herrera from SITAG Peru.