One of the world&'s biggest fruit, vegetable and flower producers has come under fire from human and employment rights organisations over the way that it treats its workers.
Dole, the US multi-billion dollar food group, has been sent a public letter by 74 groups that claims it is failing to respect human rights.
It is accused of being opposed to the formation of independent democratic unions, denying workers their right to negotiate for better working conditions, fair wages and respect.
Simultaneously, campaign group Banana Link, the International Union of Foodworkers&' Associations, COLSIBA (the Co-ordination of Latin American Banana Workers&' Unions) and three other international organisations released a report entitled, &'Dole, Behind the Smoke Screen&', documenting alleged worker rights violations in Latin America.
Alistair Smith of campaign group Banana Link accuses Dole of hiding behind a PR smokescreen for years, declaring respect for human rights and independent trade unions while doing the opposite.
Dole is one of the UK supermarkets&' major suppliers of bananas sourced from plantations in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Honduras. Since March all four major UK retailers have sold bananas at 25% below the start-of-year price.
Smith said this would cause &"major collateral damage for people and the environment in banana-exporting communities&" and &"prevent workers from earning a living wage&".
Loose standard bananas are selling for 64p/kg at the major multiples compared with £1.14-£1.36 per kilo for Fairtrade bananas.
A spokesman for Dole said: &"Ethical treatment and behaviour are among our highest priorities. The company has always adhered to the most stringent ethical standards throughout its worldwide operations, and has an international reputation for conducting its business with integrity.&"
Greg Meenehan