A global Alliance of unions and civil society organisations, including Banana Link, is calling on Fyffes - the number one importer of bananas to Europe, and among the largest global marketer for Supersweet pineapples and winter season melons - to respect the rights of workers in its global supply chains.
Serious abuses of labour rights in Costa Rica and Honduras
Since the summer of 2015, the Make Fruit Fair! campaign has collected evidence of very serious violations of core labour standards at specific Fyffes' subsidiaries, including failure to pay minimum wages and social insurance (an estimated £2.5m in pay and social insurance has been withheld); exposure of workers to hazardous agrochemicals; failure to respect freedom of association including threats, harassment and sacking of union members; and blocking collective bargaining processes.
"They never contributed to social insurance and now I will not
be able to retire or finally rest after so many years spent on the plantations.
I have to continue looking for work to survive." - Maria Gomez (65)
who worked for n nearly 30 years as a supervisor at Melon Export SA
In the case of Suragroh (Honduras), Make Fruit Fair partner Banana Link and the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) has alleged breaches of the UK’s Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code for failure to respect unions and pay living wages, and has refused to participate in local mediation to remedy these.
The Honduran Labour Inspectorate has also found non-payment of minimum wages and other statutory benefits. Additionally, a 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Labor confirmed allegations that Suragroh failed to pay the minimum wage, among a lengthy list of other violations.
Meanwhile, at ANEXCO (Costa Rica), the rights abuses at ANEXCO are the subject of an ongoing Make Fruit Fair urgent action launched in September 2015. The key demands of respect for labour rights and an end to harassment and discrimination against union members have yet to be met.
Both cases clearly illustrate that Fyffes is also in breach of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for the failure to "Respect the right of their employees to be represented by trade unions".
"I got pregnant, and they do not allow pregnancy"-
Marys Suyapa Gómez, sacked for being pregnant
after working at Suragroh for 15 years
Time to take responsibility
Despite Fyffes’ claim on its website that “if something isn’t working, we change the way we do it”, the company has failed to take responsibility in Costa Rica and Honduras.
No company, especially a company that professes to respect the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, should benefit from the appalling abuses suffered by those at the bottom of their supply chain.
An alliance of civil society organisations and trade unions, including unions in Costa Rica and Honduras, are calling on Fyffes to ensure that local plantation management
- ends the discrimination of union members at Anexco (Costa Rica) and Suragroh (Honduras)
- recognises unions at both Anexco (Costa Rica) and Suragroh (Honduras) and engages in collective bargaining with these unions to provide opportunity for workers to be represented in negotiations on pay and working conditions on plantations.
We are also calling for shareholders and directors with responsibility for Fyffes
- to 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
Read more about the campaign, and send an email to Fyffes below in support of our demands.