Oro Verde



testimonies and stories

Siria Gutierrez


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I first heard about Siria through a campaign which was seeking better pay and conditions on a nationally owned Costa Rican plantation, El Ceibo, which supplies bananas to Tesco. One of the El Ceibo workers' complaints was that they were subject to trade union persecution. Siria was a member of SITRAP, a Siquirres based trade union.

She was marginalised at work - workers were threatened with being sacked if they were caught talking to her in the workplace. She was denied access to the plantation bus which meant that she had to walk, in all weathers, to and from her house to the plantation. She had been sacked from El Ciebo by the time I actually met her.

I drove by El Ceibo with trade unionist, Carlos Arguedas. As I would have been denied access to the plantation we visited the workers' living quarters, where we interviewed one worker who I later learned was sacked for talking to us. Although I was not able to go inside the plantation I could see that the living conditions were bad and that the company had dumped pack house and plantation rubbish (agrochemical coated plastics) along the roads and into one of the irrigation canals. El Ceibo has changed hands but reports seem to confirm that there has been no improvement for the workers.

Jan Nimmo


Interview and Translation: Jan Nimmo

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Siria Gutierrez: Woodcut by Jan Nimmo