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21 Apr 2020

International Labor Rights Forum, Fair World Project, and the International Union of Food Workers (IUF) Latin America Regional Secretariat

Honduras: Report reveals labour abuses faced by 6,500 workers on Fyffes’ melon plantations, incl. union-busting, harassment & toxic pesticides exposure

"Fyffe´s farms exposed: The fight for justice in the Honduran melon fields", April 2020

...Fyffe´s employs over 6,500 melon workers in Honduras, the majority of whom are women and seasonal workers.  In 2016 the workers decided to address their longstanding issues by organizing a union with el Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS). In response, local bosses fired and blacklisted dozens of outspoken union leaders and launched a violent union-busting campaign - physically, verbally and psychologically harrassing union members...

[In] 2019-2020... workers at Fyffe´s farm in Honduras continue to report blatant violations of their legally guaranteed rights, including the dangerous misuse of toxic pesticides, denial of sick leave, the company´s failure to enroll its seasonal workers in the national healthcare and pension system, and coercion to force them to leave STAS and to join a company-controlled union that was founded by management, in order to destroy genuine worker organizing.

This report reviews the history of Fyffe´s labour rights violations in Honduras, the ongoing abuses and the responses from Fyffe´s, which includes silencing workers´ lived experiences by employing futile corporate social responsibility programs that distract supermarkets and consumers from the reality on the farms...

These melons, with Fyffes or Sol labels, are sold... by major supermarket chains such as Giant, Kroger, Publix, and Safeway... ILRF and Fair World Project sent letters to many of these... companies, such as Albertsons, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market... Costco was the first supermarket to notify the NGOs that it had ceased orders from Fyffes Honduras. Costco later reconfirmed that it is not selling Fyffes Honduras melons in the 2019-2020 season... Whole Foods Market responded at the end of January 2020 stating that it will “not source any Honduran melons from Fyffes until the company adequately resolves this issue."...