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Date updated : 24-Jan-2017

Status: closed

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Fresh fruit giant Fyffes is bashing rights

Fruit giant Fyffes is the number one importer of bananas to Europe, and among the largest global marketers for supersweet pineapples and winter season melons. Workers in Fyffes' subsidiaries - Anexco in Costa Rica (pineapples) and Suragroh in Honduras (melons) - report serious and systematic violations of basic labour rights, including failure to respect freedom of association with threats, harassment and sacking of union members, blocking collective bargaining processes, failure to pay minimum wages and social insurance, exposing workers to hazardous agrochemicals and sacking pregnant workers. In Honduras, the largely female, temporary seasonal workforce is particularly vulnerable to rights abuses.

After months of unsuccessfully trying to engage Fyffes on these issues, the IUF joined an international solidarity mission to Honduras on January 23 to meet sacked workers and has allied with civil society organisations in calling directly on Fyffes, as it moves ahead with its takeover by Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo, to ensure workers' rights are recognized and respected throughout its supply chains.

In Honduras, where Fyffes has been fined in the past for payment violations, the company now claims to be in compliance with the law. The mission will be gathering evidence that Fyffes continues to exploit the country's repressive environment. Moreover, Fyffes has exploited loopholes in Honduran law to deregister the union on the grounds that its elected officers are temporary, not permanent workers - in an industry which relies on vast quantities of temporary workers. Fyffes' legal challenge to the union's status violates the basic right of workers to elect their own trade union leaders.

USE THE FORM BELOW TO SEND an urgent message to Fyffes CEO David McCann calling on him to act to ensure that local plantation managers end discrimination against union members at Anexco (Costa Rica) and Suragroh (Honduras), recognize the unions at both companies, and engage in good faith collective bargaining with these unions. Fyffes must ensure that workers' rights are respected throughout its supply chains, especially the right to join and be represented by an independent trade union.