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Poverty wages, toxic pesticides, harassment: to fight these bad working conditions on melon plantations in Honduras, Fyffes workers organized in a union - and were fired. For years we protested. Now we can tell you: our protest works!
Sitting on the shelves of Aldi Nord supermarkets in Germany are melons grown in Honduras by a subsidiary of the fruit company Fyffes. But employees there work under sometimes catastrophic conditions.
As well as being exposed to dangerous pesticides, minimum wages and social contributions have not been paid. Workers who tried to defend their rights with the STAS union (Sindicato de Trabajadores de Agroindustria y Similares) were threatened, harassed or dismissed.
It took Fyffes two years to recognize basic human rights
In the meantime, we have been protesting: Oxfam supporters wrote 8,000 e-mails to Aldi, calling on the supermarket giant to ask Fyffes to change its policy. In addition, Oxfam had several meetings with the management of the Irish fruit company.
Worldwide, allies like the International Union of Food, Farm and Hotel Workers (IUF) have stood in solidarity with the Honduran trade union STAS. In December, Fyffes lost their Fairtrade USA certificate and have also lost prestigious memberships including to the Ethical Trading Initiative for Better Working Conditions.
This concerted joint effort is paying off: Fyffes has finally recognized the Honduran union STAS and begun negotiations with fired union members.
Finally, decent working conditions
The move gives us hope that the anti-union policy will come to an end and that hundreds of melon workers will now benefit from decent working conditions.
We will continue to monitor Fyffes and to campaign for the rights of the workers. But this success must be celebrated - thank you to all who took action with us!
What you can do now
- Read more blogs on the fight for justice in our food supply chains.
- Read more and keep up to date with Oxfam Germany’s actions.
- Join the movement to end human suffering in our food.
This entry posted on 18 February 2019, by Christin Becker, Oxfam Campaign Coordinator.
Photo: Workers at Aldi's Fyffes plant in Honduras protesting against discrimination and calling for respect for labor rights on the plantations. Credit: Giorgio Trucchi/REL-UITA