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New Fyffes Bosses Must End Abuse

Friday, February 24, 2017

 

But it looks like businesses as usual as 65 more workers sacked by ‘gangster capitalists’.

The new bosses of Banana-picking giant Fyffes must end the terrible abuse dished out to workers by the old regime, says GMB.

The global fruit-picking colossus – which celebrates 140 years in 2017 – has an appalling record on disregarding the rights of their workers.

Pregnant women have been sacked, employees have been given the boot just for joining trade unions and staff have been paid under the minimum wage and had their benefits stripped.

Japanese company Sumitomo took over from Irish firm Fyffes this week – but it looks like business as usual with 65 workers sacked already since Monday.

GMB and twenty eight other organisations from Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and the United States, gathered in Bologna this week and called on the directors of Sumitomo’s newly acquired Fyffes subsidiary to stop the continuing abuse in Costa Rica and Honduras.

As the global “Freedom & Fairness for Fyffes Workers” campaign was launched at the meeting, systematic sackings of union members at Fyffes' Honduran subsidiaries continue.

Following the takeover, Ted Eguchi - director of the new Sumitomo subsidiary - told Fyffes shareholders EGM in Dublin:

“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.”

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said:

“If the new owners are to shake off Fyffes’ 'gangster capatalist' image, they must act swiftly to halt the wave of repression in Honduras.

“We are always open to dialogue but unless there is a radical change in the attitude of Fyffes’ local management, we shall have little option but to bring pressure to bear on Sumitomo.”

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.

ENDS

Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes for editors

1. The Freedom & Fairness for Fyffes Workers campaign is supported by a global alliance of civil society organisations and trade unions, and is calling on Fyffes to establish and implement a global company wide policy to ensure the respect of workers’ rights throughout its supply chains, including the freedom of workers to join an independent trade union and for Fyffes to recognise and engage in collective bargaining with unions. Over 6000 people have already signed an email to Fyffes chairman, David McCann, in support of the campaign. http://makefruitfair.org/fyffes/

2. Photographs of supporters of the Freedom & Fairness for Fyffes Workers campaign in Bologna are available at: http://makefruitfair.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Foto-GVC-frutta-tropica-Michele-Lapini.zip

3. The latest information on the Banana Link/IUF complaint to the ETI is available at http://www.ethicaltrade.org/blog/update-dispute-between-fyffes-and-honduran-plantation-workers

4. Between 23 and 25 January an international delegation of representatives from European and North America trade unions and civil society organisations visited Honduras to follow up on evidence of serious violations of labour rights, highlighted by the Freedom & Fairness for Fyffes Workers! campaign. http://makefruitfair.org/international-delegation-gathers-evidence-of-labour-rights-violations-at-fyffes-subsidiaries-in-costa-rica-and-honduras/?
 

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