GLJ-ILRF Condemns Fruit Giant Fyffe’s For Abandoning Human and Labor Rights Agreement in Honduras

After 3 years of negotiations, Fyffes refuses to sign the agreement recognizing international labor standards for up to 6,500 Honduran melon pickers.

Washington - Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) today condemned multinational fruit giant Fyffes for walking away from an international labor standards agreement with Honduran workers and their union after three years of bargaining. 

On August 29th, Fyffes, the Dublin-based, Japanese-owned billion-dollar multinational and leading exporter of fruit to the United States and Europe, refused to sign the agreement with El Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS) that would have recognized international human and labor rights for the Honduran workers who pick melons for the company. 

Fyffes, which was named for labor violations in a complaint filed through the international trade agreement known as CAFTA, cut off negotiations after years of discussion, showing a deep disrespect for workers. The workers started organizing in 2016 to fight back against rampant wage theft, child labor, gender discrimination and exposure to dangerous chemicals. Fyffes seasonally employs up to 6,500 pickers in Honduras and the impact of its abuse– especially on women workers– is emblematic of some of the root causes of migration from the region. Fyffes failure to offer decent work has driven many workers to seek jobs in the US and the ability for Honduras and US to facilitate a meaningful resolution is a test of the CAFTA labor provisions and process.   

“The Honduran workforce is majority women who have made poverty wages while Fyffes rakes in billions from sales of Honduran melons and other fruits. We condemn in the strongest terms Fyffes refusal to sign an international labor framework agreement with STAS that would have ensured protections from gender discrimination, health and safety on the job, and retaliation protections. We stand with the brave workers who are determined to continue their fight for better conditions and a voice through a collective bargaining agreement,” said GLJ-ILRF Field Director Jacob Horwitz.  

GLJ-ILRF will be working with its international allies in the global labor movement to demand Fyffes return to the table and agree to follow international labor standards for Honduran workers.


Statement from El Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS) 

[ translated from Spanish- original below]

Fyffes turns its back on Temporary Workers

After more than 3 years of negotiation, and more than 6 years of organizing work, Fyffes refuses to sign an agreement on basic rights for the workers of its melon farms in Honduras.

We regret to inform you that the work we have been doing with the transnational Fyffes has reached a breaking point and it is not in favor of the workers who have been exploited for decades as you already know.

After three years at the negotiating table with representatives of Fyffes and Sumitomo and the mediation of the U.S. Department of Labor (US-DOL) in approximately 30 meetings, we agreed on the entire scope of the Binding Agreement, as a union we agreed on most of the differences in this negotiation with the goal of advancing and consolidating the STAS sub-sectional.

Once this was achieved in April, Fyffes surprisingly announced that it would not sign the Binding Agreement without the approval of the unions that the company itself created and manages at its own convenience. So in the last two months they had 3 meetings where they irresponsibly used different excuses, such as the refusal of the employer unions when STAS prevented their recertification with Fair Trade USA, and that the national administration does not agree with the potential leaders that STAS would put at the head of the sub-sectional, etc.

With this action, the possibility of negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement in SOLAGRO, which was the next step, is stopped and Fyffes shows us that it was all a stalling process to place themselves in a better position at the international level. Despite this, they remain within the CAFTA Complaint as an emblematic company in labor violations, excluded from the ETI and were denied Fair Trade USA recertification.

The poor conditions of the workers continue, especially for field workers, for whom the cost of paperwork to apply for jobs has increased and who continue to lack social security protection, etc.

As a union, we will carry out a series of actions, in which we will again need your solidarity to generate the necessary impact on this violating company, in order to sign the Binding Agreement and the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

We ask you to be on alert for future communications, as part of the coordinated activities that we will be carrying out.

We thank you in advance for your support.

Best regards


Spanish Statement from El Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS) 

Fyffes le da la espalda a las y los Trabajadores Temporales 

Después de más de 3 años de negociación, y más de 6 años de trabajo organizativo Fyffes, se rehúsa a firmar un acuerdo de derechos básicos para los trabajadores de sus meloneras en Honduras.

Lamentamos informarles que el trabajo que hemos venido realizando con la transnacional Fyffes ha llegado a un punto de quiebre y no es a favor de los y las trabajadoras que han venido siendo explotados por décadas como ustedes ya conocen.

Después de tres años en la mesa de negociación con representantes de Fyffes y Sumitomo y la mediación del Departamento de Trabajo de Estados Unidos (US-DOL) en aproximadamente, 30 reuniones nos pusimos de acuerdo con todo el contenido del Acuerdo Vinculante, como sindicato cedimos en la mayoría de las diferencias en esta negociación con el afán de avanzar y consolidar la subseccional del STAS.

Concretado este paso en el mes de abril, sorpresivamente Fyffes asegura que no va a firmar el Acuerdo Vinculante, sin la aprobación de los sindicatos que la misma empresa creó y maneja a su antojo. Por lo que en los últimos dos meses se tuvieron 3 reuniones donde irresponsablemente utilizaron diferentes excusas, como la negativa de los sindicatos patronales, que STAS evitó su recertificación con Comercio Justo USA y que la administración nacional no ve con agrado los probables líderes que STAS pondría al frente de la subseccional, etc.

Con esta acción se detiene la posibilidad de negociar el Contrato Colectivo en la empresa SOLAGRO, que era el próximo paso y Fyffes nos demuestra que todo fue un proceso dilatorio para ubicarse en una mejor posición a nivel internacional. A pesar de esto, se mantienen dentro de la Queja CAFTA, como una empresa emblemática en violaciones laborales, fuera de la ETI y les fue negada la recertificación de Comercio Justo USA.

Las malas condiciones de los y las trabajadores continúan y principalmente los trabajadores de campo, a los cuales se les ha incrementado los costos en papeleos para aplicar a las plazas laborales y continúan sin protección de Seguridad Social etc.

Como sindicato llevaremos a cabo algunas acciones, en las cuales vamos a necesitar nuevamente de su solidaridad para generar la incidencia necesaria sobre esta empresa violatoria, de esta forma firmar el Acuerdo Vinculante y el Contrato Colectivo.

Les solicitamos estar atentas y atentos a futuras comunicaciones, como parte de la coordinación de actividades que llevaremos a cabo.


De antemano, agradecemos su apoyo. Abrazos