Honduran Farm Workers Who Harvest Melons for Fyffes Demand Safe Jobs, Labor Rights
In March 2023, over 500 melon farm workers marched in Choluteca delivering a petition signed by over a thousand workers urging agricultural giant Fyffes to address their health and safety, job security, benefits and overtime concerns and resume negotiations for an international labor rights agreement that will enable them to form their own union to protect their health and safety on the job and other fundamental rights.
Fyffes is a Dublin-based, Japanese-owned billion-dollar multinational and leading exporter of fruit to the United States and Europe. In Choluteca, Honduras they employ more than 6,500 workers, the majority of whom are women working seasonal jobs in the field and packing fruit.
In 2016, workers decided to address long standing issues including rampant wage theft, inhumane working conditions, gender discrimination, and exposure to toxic agrochemicals on Fyffes’ melon farms by organizing a union with El Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS), a historic milestone, as they would became the first independent farmworker union in the Southern region of Honduras and the first melon sector union in the country. With this important step, the local union leadership – most of them women – officially requested the company begin negotiations and collective bargaining to address the injustices they face.
After three years of ongoing negotiations, in August 2022, Fyffes refused to sign the agreement with STAS that would have recognized international human and labor rights for its Honduran workers.
The workers continue their fight for their right to an independent union and decent work.