Chiquita Honduras worker strike drags on to two-month-mark

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Chiquita Honduras worker strike drags on to two-month-mark

A strike by more than 2000 Chiquita Honduras workers has now completed two months and is reported to have cost the company millions of dollars.

The workers have reportedly blocked access to numerous banana plantations.

Local media La Prensa said the conflict began on Dec. 26 over changes to the medical benefits.

The workers had reportedly received medical assistance in the La Lima municipal hospital, which was close to the banana farms. But under the changes they would have to be seen at the San Pedro Sula hospital which they say is further away and has a lower quality of service.

Chiquita Honduras has reportedly said the changes, which came into effect from Jan. 1 this year, represent a series of improvement for workers and their dependents.

The company said that in addition to an exclusive medical service for Chiquita workers, the hours of attention were greater under the new arrangement. It is also reportedly providing free transport to the new hospital.

Chiquita Honduras has called on the government, the worker union and the workers to resolve the situation positively. According to La Prensa, so far the company has lost around US$17 million due to lower banana exports.

The leader of the striking workers, Bessi Martínez, remains firm in her opposition to accepting the contractual changes, saying that the new medical attention is inferior to what was previously provided.

"As long as they do not return coverage of medical specialities in La Lima, we will continue with our strike action," she was quoted as saying.


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