To: Fyffes

Justice for Fyffes Workers in Costa Rica and Honduras!

Justice for Fyffes Workers in Costa Rica and Honduras!

End the discrimination of union members at Anexco (Costa Rica) and SurAgro (Honduras).
Recognise unions at both Anexco (Costa Rica) and Suragroh (Honduras) and engage in collective bargaining with these unions to provide opportunity for workers to be represented in negotiations on pay and working conditions on plantations.
Establish and implement a global company wide policy to ensure the respect of workers’ rights throughout its supply chains, including the right to join an independent trade union and for unions to engage in collective bargaining.

Why is this important?

Food workers and trade unions in the food export sector of Honduras and Costa Rica continue to be subjected to unsafe working conditions and not having their legal rights fulfilled. The estimated 25,000 people employed in the melon export sector in Honduras, of which 70% are women, regularly work 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week. The International Labour Rights Forum (2012) reports that 85% of workers earn less than the minimum wage [1].

Fyffes has been at the centre of several shocking scandals involving trade union violations and abuse of workers in Honduras and Costa Rica. A report by the US Department of Labor (2015) [2] detailed a litany of exploitative practices, ongoing labour code violations and ill-treatment of workers by the Fyffes subsidiary SurAgro in Honduras, including:

That the company failed to pay the minimum wage, the 13th and 14th month bonuses, the seventh day bonus, and overtime;
Failed to provide personal protective equipment and potable water; imposed a 300 HNL (US $14.40) penalty for missing a day of work (even with permission from a supervisor) in addition to that day’s salary;
Threatened workers with dismissal for speaking with the Honduran Secretariat of Labor and Social Security (STSS)

The general union in the United Kingdom, GMB, has called the actions of SurAgro one of the worst cases they have recorded, having documented “a shocking litany of abuse and exploitation on the part of Fyffes subsidiaries in Honduras” [3] and commented that “Fyffes... have no respect for domestic or international law governing workers’ rights and must be brought to book” [4].

In January 2016, workers at the Fyffes subsidiary became the first workers in the melon export sector to unionise and a local branch of the agriculture trade union STAS was formed. The following day, four trade union leaders were locked up in an office and threatened by the Chief of Security until they signed a document renouncing their union membership [5]. In an equally sinister occurrence, it was reported by the International Trade Union Confederation that on 13 April 2017, the trade unionist Moisés Sánchez (General Secretary of STAS’s sub-branch at Fyffes’ subsidiary in Honduras) was kidnapped, beaten and threatened with death if he continued his trade union work [6]. 

In May 2017 Fyffes was suspended from the Ethical Trading Initiative [ETI], an alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers' rights around the globe, finding that “the actions and approach taken by SurAgro [the Fyffes-owned Honduran melon plantation at the centre of the allegations] … contravene the open approach to legitimate trade union activities that ETI would expect within the supply chain to an ETI member” [7].

Despite the sale of Fyffes to the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation in early 2017, the Irish business news website Fora reported in June 2017 that David McCann and the “senior management team” based at the Fyffes head office in Dublin were handling the negotiations between the complainants, ETI and Fyffes [8]. Therefore, the Latin America Solidarity Centre is joining with other trade unions, NGOs and international Civil Society Organisations and demanding this actions from Fyffes.


Reasons for signing

  • We must show solidarity with each other and affirm our responsibility towards one another.

Updates

2017-07-23 20:03:12 +0100

100 signatures reached

2017-07-19 14:51:45 +0100

50 signatures reached

2017-07-15 09:15:46 +0100

25 signatures reached

2017-07-14 14:44:02 +0100

10 signatures reached