Will new owners of Fyffes tackle continued labour rights abuses in Central America?
Twenty eight organisations from Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and the United States, gathered in Bologna this week, are calling on the directors of the newly acquired Fyffes to address continuing labour rights violations in Costa Rica and Honduras.
In the face of the global Freedom & Fairness for Fyffes Workers campaign, systematic sackings of union members at Fyffes Honduran subsidiary Suragroh continue.
In the last week we understand that 65 security staff have been sacked. This move follows the establishment of a new union branch committee established to represent these workers at the plantation. Among those sacked were the newly elected General Secretary and Treasurer of the union branch, a move which was effected before Honduran labour law protection for elected union officials could come into effect. We understand that the company now plans to outsource its security operation, further abdicating their responsility for respecting the labour rights of employees.
The takeover of Fyffes by Japanese corporation Sumitomo, completed this week, has raised hopes that the new directors will address the continued labour rights violations. Ted Eguchi, named as a director of the newly formed Sumitomo subsidiary taking over the Fyffes operation, had said at the Fyffes shareholders EGM in Dublin last month that “Obviously when you are in the farming business, you do have those issues. But we have to . . . make sure we do the right thing and we’ll look into what they’re asking for and what they’re protesting about. And if there are things that need to change, they’ll change.”
Gabriela Rosazza of the International Labour Rights Forum said: “During the recent delegation to Honduras, the Fyffes security guards told me, ‘As security guards, we should also have security of life.’ They told me that joining the union was their only option to defending their rights. These sackings sicken me and demonstrate once again the blatant disregard Fyffes has for the inherent and inalienable rights of their workers”.
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