Fairtrade International has revamped its Fairtrade Standard for Hired Labour to strengthen the position of workers in Fairtrade certified plantations and estates producing tea, bananas and other fruit, cut flowers, herbs and vegetables. Published last week, the revised standard is effective for companies starting in June.
The new standard includes detailed requirements to guarantee workers’ right to freely organize and collectively bargain. Certified producer companies must not only declare this right publically to workers, but also allow unions to meet with workers and offer to engage in a collective agreement process with worker representatives if none exists.
Fairtrade International is also introducing a new methodology to set living wage benchmarks and a clear process for plantations to progress towards a living wage. The new methodology has been developed and benchmarks have already been set in some areas.
Other changes include new criteria to strengthen Fairtrade benefits for workers, including temporary and migrant workers. Workers will have more control on how they spend the Fairtrade Premium, the funds for workers’ development. Elected worker representatives will report expenditure to a general assembly of workers. Workers can newly use a portion of this money for cash or in-kind bonuses.