Pineapple is not native to the Philippines, but since the tropical environment has proven ideal for plantations, the country is currently one of the biggest producers and exporters of pineapples in the world. Most of the pineapples in the Philippines come from the second largest island of the Philippines: Mindanao.
The pineapple industry on Mindanao is dominated by two corporate giants: Del Monte Philippines Inc. and Dole Philippines. At least 24,000 workers working on the plantations and in the factories of these companies earn poverty wages well below a living wage, leaving them unable to afford basic needs, such as food, medicine and education.
Although the pineapple industry on Mindanao has the potential to bring great prosperity to the Philippines, in reality the pineapple workers on Mindanao experience exploitative working conditions. The vast majority of the workforce is employed on insecure contracts and receive a very low income for the hard work they do in the fields, among the prickly leaves of the pineapple plants.
On average, workers employed on the plantations and in the factories of Del Monte Philippines Inc. and Dole Philippines earn just €4.50 to €8.50 per day, far below the €13.50 needed for themselves and their families to live in dignity.
There are an increasing number of vulnerable ‘contractual workers’, currently estimated at 85% of the workforce, who can earn as little as €4 per day. These workers are not union members and, therefore, lack the opportunity for collective bargaining. This means they are never able to stand up for their right to a living wage.
Fairfood International is actively engaging with Del Monte Philippines Inc. and Dole Philippines, and other pineapple producers, in order to ensure they respect human rights and address the adverse impact of their current practices. A living wage is a human right.
Furthermore, we work with local partners on the ground and provide negotiations and bargaining outreach to Philippine civil society organisations, as well as the pineapple workers, so they know what their rights are and how they can effectively stand up for these rights.