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From cardboard to plastics – threat of job losses looms over workers in Saint Lucia

11.04.2018

As banana exporter Winfresh has announced a move from carboard cartons produced in St Lucia to plastic crates imported from the US, the National Workers’ Union of St Lucia is fighting to save 150 jobs.

The threat to jobs comes after banana exporter Winfresh announced it was switching from the carboard cartons produced by Winera in St Lucia to plastic crates imported from the US as a result of an industry-wide trend among UK supermarkets to move from cardboard to recyclable plastic IFCO crates.

The move will destroy 150 jobs, which will have a considerable impact on workers, their families and the economy in the small Caribbean country.

“Companies are often quick to throw their hands in the air”, says the NUW. “But when jobs are on the line, employers and the government need to do more to protect workers and the local economy.”

The union is lobbying the company to invest to meet the demands of its customers and is asking the government to play a supporting role in helping the company to diversify.

“Participation in global value chains must be about employment and quality of employment”, says IndustriALL regional secretary Marino Vani. “We therefore call on Winera and the government of St Lucia to engage with NUW in strengthening local industry and saving jobs.”

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