Tres Hermanas, a Chiquita supplier, employs over 400 workers on three plantations located near El Progreso. Since 2009, workers on these plantations have raised concern over a series of labour rights violations by management, including allegations of failures to pay the minimum wage, unpaid overtime, and the illegal firing of workers attempting to exercise their right to organize.
In order to protect their rights, workers on Tres Hermanas’ plantations created the union SITRAINBA, which was officially recognized by the Ministry of Labour on August 15, 2012. According to the union federation COLSIBA, Tres Hermanas management responded by refusing to recognize SITRAINBA and launching an illegal campaign of targeted harassment and firings aimed at union members. In particular, the following union members are reported to have been illegally fired by management for supporting SITRAINBA:
Elizabeth Hernández, fired the 23rd of October, 2012
María de la Cruz, fired the 29th of January, 2013
Antonio Reyes fired the 28th of December, 2012.
The union is particularly concerned that the rights of women are being abused when they are left without employment, simply for joining a union.
This is not the first time Tres Hermanas has been accused of violating workers’ fundamental rights under Honduran and international law. In 2012, the AFL-CIO1 and Honduran unions submitted a complaint under DR-CAFTA2 that alleged failure to pay overtime and anti-union discrimination, suggesting a disturbing pattern of worker rights violations on the plantations.
The freedom to join a trade union and the right to collective bargaining are international labour laws whose respect are a criteria for plantations being certified by the Rainforest Alliance which Tres Hermanas currently is.
Support workers by sending the letter below to Mr. José Lorenzo Obregón, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Tres Hermanas, copied to the Rainforest Alliance and Chiquita.
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement
End the violation of workers rights!
Dear Mr. Obregón,
I am writing to convey my deep concern regarding reports of workers’ rights violations on your company’s banana plantations located in southern Honduras.
As a concerned consumer, I urge Tres Hermanas to recognize SITRAINBA as the official bargaining representative of the workers and to immediately reinstate the fired union members.