The FESTAGRO union in Honduras has reported that 13 workers recently suffered from exposure to agrochemicals on the Santa Rosa farm in the municipality of Santa Ana de Yusguarethe, operated by Fyffe's subsidiary Suragroh. They report that after exposure, the workers began to vomit, while others fainted, but company management have refused to disclose what chemical was involved.
At the request of the STAS union, an inspector from the regional office of the Secretary of Labor of Choluteca visited the farm the following day, but spoke only to managers of Human Resources and Occupational Health, who denied there had been an incident of intoxication. They claimed instead that 9 women workers had suffered an "emotional mishap". None of the workers were interviewed by the inspector.
FESTAGO say that almost every year workers report cases of poisoning, and that some workers have died due to being subjected to the misuse of chemicals by the company, while other women workers have suffered severe damage to the womb, leading in many cases to sterility. They report that pressure from local unions, and the international Freedom & Fairness for Fyffes Workers campaign has seen some improvements in working conditions, but more progress is required on freedom of association, overtime, social security and holiday pay.
Meanwhile, the International Labour Rights Forum in the US has launced their own petition, as part of the Freedom & Fairness for Fyffes Workers campaign, calling on Fyffes' new Japanese owners, Sumitomo, to:
- End discrimination and the anti-union campaign against STAS’ union members by local management.
- Formally recognize STAS and engage in collective bargaining as required by national and international laws.