Positive progress in dispute between Fyffes and Honduran plantation workers
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) has published a statement (reproduced below) on the latest developments in the dispute between Fyffes and Honduran plantation workers. It recognises that Fyffes is now in dialogue with the national union STAS (Union of Workers in Agroindustry and Allied Trades), and have signed an agreement officially recognising STAS as the legitimate representative of workers employed at the company’s Honduran melon subsidiaries. Collective bargaining negotiations between Fyffes and STAS are now due begin on 5 February, while Fyffes has also agreed to rehire all the non-rehired union members.
STAS say this represents “an important step toward improving working conditions at Fyffes subsidiaries” and they hope that it “will mean that any and all anti-union retaliation will come to an immediate end”. They have expressed their gratitude for the “indispensable effort and support of allied organizations in the United States and Europe in this process, given that without their contribution in different aspects, hundreds of melon workers in Honduras would not have this hope of justice”.
Banana Link welcomes this progress. Our Freedom & Fairness for Fyffes Workers campaign has long asked for STAS to be recognised as the legitimate independent trade union at Suragroh, with the right to collective bargaining on behalf of members. We hope, therefore, that the terms of the agreement will be respected and implemented by local management in Honduras.
Our campaign also calls on Fyffes to establish and implement a global company wide policy to ensure the respect of workers’ rights throughout its global supply chains. We believe it is imperative that Fyffes respects the rights of workers and their independent unions and will enter into collective bargaining agreements at all other subsidiary operations including at Anexco in Costa Rica.
The ETI statement:
The ETI board met on January 17th in regular session and revisited the ongoing suspension of Fyffes. The board noted with appreciation the positive progress that is now being made and that dialogue has started at the farm level between Fyffes and national union STAS. The board reconfirmed that it is vital for local management to commit to this process, while recognising that it can take time to develop trust and work through specific issues. The board offers its full support for the process of dialogue to continue leading towards full collective bargaining.
While recognising progress, there remains a need to ensure that normalisation of union management relations is fully established. So while not minded to act on the previous recommendation to dismiss Fyffes from membership, the board has decided that the suspension should remain in place at this time. It is hoped that by the next meeting in March there could be a joint presentation on progress and lessons learned. Continued positive progress would enable a discussion on the steps Fyffes would need to take to re-establish membership of ETI.”