Ireland-based Fyffes has signed an agreement officially recognizing the Union of Agroindustrial Workers (STAS) as the representative of workers at its Honduran melon subsidiary Sur Agrícola de Honduras (Suragroh).
The Federation of Agroindustrial Worker Unions (Festagro) said in a statement that STAS on Jan. 11 had held a meeting with representatives of the multinational owned by Japanese company Sumitomo.
Collective bargaining negotiations between Fyffes and STAS are due to begin on Feb. 5, it said, adding that Fyffes also agreed to rehire union members by Jan. 21.
The development comes after Fair Trade USA decertified Suragroh in December, saying the entity was non-compliant with several of its standards. It said that a “thorough on-the-ground audit and investigation” had confirmed issues related to wages and benefits, worker health and safety, and freedom of association.
“STAS recognition from Fyffes is an important step toward improving working conditions at Fyffes’ subsidiaries, i.e. abiding by Honduran labor law and international labor standards; given that STAS is a legally constituted union with every right to represent Fyffes workers,” Festagro said.
It went onto say: “We deem Fyffes’ new posture towards respecting its workers’ rights as positive and expect that this agreement will mean that any and all anti-union retaliation will come to an immediate end.
“Workers and union members should be free from all forms of harassment and not face retaliation for attending STAS meetings or distributing union materials at work.”