World Rainforest Movement

Working Conditions in Plantations

When plantations and processing units are set up, workers are needed. In reality, and in contrast to promises often made by companies when they expand their plantations, few of the workers will be recruited locally. Eucalyptus plantations that have mechanized both planting and harvesting need relatively few workers, unlike oil palm and rubber plantations, where the harvest still cannot be mechanized. But workers are increasingly being paid by output, rather than for the number of hours worked, and jobs for working with chainsaws, irrigating saplings, applying agrotoxics and the like have been increasingly outsourced, reducing salaries, weakening labor rights and creating in some places what African communities and human rights organizations refer to as a new form of colonialism and even slave labour.

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