Chiquita has until June 30 to renegotiate terms with the Coosemupar co-operative in Panama for the marketing of its fruit, otherwise it will face international arbitrage, worker and government representatives have said.

The workers at the co-operative believe their biggest chance to overcome the company’s financial difficulties is to accept an offer made by the Italian firm Ale Fruit.

According to Panamanian press reports, the Italian deal would result in $7 million in returns in a year compared to projected $8m in losses this year under the Chiquita deal.