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GMB Exposes Bulling and Abuse in Central America

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


‘Gangster capitalists’ Fyffes are hiding behind an ETI ‘smokescreen’ while bullying and exploiting their workers, says GMB.

Following the sale of Fyffes to Japanese multinational, Sumitomo, GMB participated in an international delegation to Costa Rica and Honduras, in solidarity with the company’s persecuted workers and their trade unions.

During a visit to Fyffes’ pineapple plantation in Santa Rosa, Costa Rica, delegates were prevented from entering the premises, despite company management having previously agreed to a meeting.

Prominently displayed on a notice board at the gatehouse was a letter from Chairman, David McCann stating that Fyffes’ Board of Directors subscribe to the principles of the ETI base code that are founded on International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions guaranteeing the right of workers to form and join trade unions for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Contrary to the statements expressed in Mr McCann’s letter, Fyffes workers are routinely sacked and blacklisted for daring to stand up for their rights.

Those that are still employed are routinely bullied, abused and deprived of their entitlements to the legal minimum wage and a safe working environment.

In Honduras, the local trade union organiser has been forced into internal exile after her safety could not be guaranteed and her colleague given a death threat.

In Costa Rica, during a meeting with the Vice Minister of Labour, the delegation were informed that Fyffes had manipulated a conciliation meeting with the Ministry, arranged by the ETI, to ensure that no progress would be made.

Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International Officer, said:

“Not only is the Ethical Trade Initiative utterly ineffective when it comes to defending workers’ rights, it actually does a great deal of damage by allowing its corporate members to boast about their supposedly ethical credentials to the public at large when the reality is completely different.

“It beggars belief that Fyffes’ brand of gangster capitalism is tolerated by the ETI but then they are completely reliant on corporate subscriptions and government hand outs for their existence.

“The ETI acts as a smokescreen and is arguably the worst example of Corporate Social Responsibility propaganda and they have zero credibility.

“By being part of the ETI, trade unions give the organisation legitimacy that it does not deserve and should have nothing to do with it.”


Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at

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