(July 17) A strike among Panamanian banana plantation workers that supply Chiquita Brands International came and went quickly, without so much as a blip in any of Chiquita’s current or future inventories, the company said July 13.

More than 2,000 members of the Coosemupar cooperative in Puerto Armuelles, Panama, went on strike July 4. The strike lasted only three days, but negotiations were continuing July 13, said Mike Mitchell, Chiquita communications director.

“They did stop harvesting and packing, so they weren’t providing fruit to Chiquita for that period of time, but there was no operational impact from a customer standpoint,” Mitchell said. “We had plenty of fruit from other locations.”

Chiquita sold the 7,415-acre plantation operation in northern Panama to the worker-owned co-op in July 2003 for $20 million. Chiquita also agreed to an exclusive contract with the co-op to buy its bananas for 10 years.

Workers were striking for higher prices from Chiquita for the bananas, Mitchell said.

“The co-op has been encountering financial problems,” Mitchell said. “Their claim is that Chiquita should pay more per box for the bananas that they sell.”

Chiquita had agreed to buy fruit from the co-op at market prices at the time it sold the plantations, Mitchell said.

The company says there’s no need to renegotiate the price, Mitchell added.

Chiquita has offered to assist the co-op in addressing cost-saving issues, Mitchell said.