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.
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.
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.