Honduras | UNIONS | FYFFES

With Tomás Membreño

Fyffes false promises

For years, Fyffes/Sumitomo (Sol Group Marketing) and their melon-producing subsidiaries in the south of Honduras have been violating national laws and international conventions on trade union freedoms and collective bargaining. In spite of multiple promises, the multinational fruit company continues to attack workers’ rights.

Giorgio Trucchi | Rel UITA

Photo: Gerardo Iglesias

As a result of a dialogue initiated between December 2020 and May 2021, the agroindustrial union STAS and Fyffes were on the point of signing a binding agreement.

The said agreement provided for the creation of a new subsidiary company, the hiring of STAS affiliates who had been victims of an exclusion from the other melon subsidiaries and the negotiation of collective agreement.

Lamentably, as is the norm, the promises of the multinational fruit company were not worth the paper they were written on.

“The new ‘Solagro’ company was effectively created but Fyffes never wanted to commit to hiring our affiliates, not even the members from the sectional committee”, said STAS President, Tomás Membreño to La Rel.

For several months, Fyffes wanted to distort things, ignoring what had been agreed and retracting the minimum agreements reached.

To this day, Solagro only exists on paper and is not operating.

The few people affiliated to the union who are working (the harvest commenced in October) were hired by the other two subsidiaries, on condition that they resigned from STAS and joined the company unions.

“It is now several months since Fyffes last showed their face and postponed meetings. The truth is that they continue to play dirty tricks and take advantage of the families’ needs”, lamented Membreño.

Faced with this situation, STAS will be delivering a letter to the multinational fruit company, evidencing their irresponsibility and the grave consequences that their hostile attitude brings.

“This cannot continue like this. We hope that with the change that is going to come after the November elections, the new labour authorities will know how to stop this attack by the bosses and will guarantee respect for workers’ rights everywhere in the country”, concluded the STAS President.

Given the countless and repeated violations of workers’ rights on the melon plantations in past years, Fyffes endured the cancellation of their Fairtrade USA certification and their membership of the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI).

What’s more, the multinational is part of the labour complaint against Honduras’ violation of chapter XVI of the RD-CAFTA (Central America-Dominican Republic free trade agreement with the United States).