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GMB Protest at Fyffes EGM

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Fyffes must repay the money they have stolen from their workers in Central America and enter into meaningful negotiations with their union representatives, say protesters

GMB, Britain’s General Union; IUF, the International Union of Foodworkers and Banana Link will stage a protest at Fyffes extraordinary general meeting for shareholders to discuss the sale of the company to Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Pembroke Road, Dublin at 9.30 on Monday, January 16th.

The protesters will demand that Fyffes reinstate the workers they have sacked and blacklisted for joining trade unions in both Costa Rica and Honduras, repay the millions of pounds they have stolen from their employees in the shape of unpaid wages, holiday entitlement, education grants and social security contributions, (see notes below) and compensate those who have been unfairly dismissed because they became pregnant.

IUF General Secretary, Ron Oswald said, “Fyffes must take responsibility for ensuring that their local managements in Costa Rica and Honduras recognise and enter into good faith negotiations with local unions and that company-wide freedom of association and collective bargaining is respected at every level “.

GMB International Officer, Bert Schouwenburg said, “Before David McCann pockets his ill-gotten gains, Fyffes must fulfil their responsibilities to their workers and return the money they have so disgracefully stolen from them over a period of decades.”

Jacqui Mackay from Banana Link said, “Fyffes profess to ‘respect, protect and remedy human rights’. Those in Fyffes supply chains without work and struggling to survive because they dared to join a trade union would question the strength of this commitment.”


Contacts: Sue Longley (IUF): 00 41 22 793 2233 , Bert Schouwenburg (GMB) 00 44 7974 251764,

Jacqui Mackay (Banana Link) 00 44 7971 633606


  1. Extract from Fyffes annual report to shareholders:

“Fyffes is a member since 2002 of the UK government sponsored Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), an alliance of companies, non-governmental organisations and labour representative bodies working in partnership to improve the lives of workers across the globe who make or grow consumer goods. The ETI Base Code is incorporated into the Fyffes Codes of Best Practice with which all Fyffes direct banana and pineapple suppliers must comply. On the basis of its 2012 Annual Report to ETI, Fyffes gained “Achiever” status in recognition of its work in the social / ethical field. ETI and other ethical standards are benchmarked by the Global Social Compliance Programme, which Fyffes recognises as a useful tool in reducing duplication of audits. These programmes follow the United Nations Guiding Principles(UNGP) on the application of Human Rights. Fyffes follows the UNGP requirement to “respect, protect and remedy” human rights and is committed to continue doing so.”


  1. Honduran trade union STAS’ estimates of money stolen from their workers by Fyffes in 2015/16 growing season at Santa Rosa plantation. All are legal requirements:


Unpaid Education Grants: £54,290.71

Unpaid thirteenth month payments: £232,119.08

Unpaid Holiday pay: £77.373.02

Unpaid overtime: £884.833.62

Unpaid minimum wage: £1,050,788.09 (minimum wage is £232.11 monthly)

Unpaid fourteenth month payments: £232,119.08

Total: £2,491,523.64


In addition, Fyffes retained £97,492.11 employees’s social security contributions. All calculations based on 28.55 Honduran Lempiras to one pound sterling.


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