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Fyffes says engagement ongoing over ETI demands


August 17 , 2017

The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) has extended the timeline concerning the suspension of Fyffes due to delays caused by the European holiday season. 

The fruit multinational was initially issued a 90-day suspension from the initiative on May 4, following what the ETI Board viewed as “the company’s failure to meet its membership obligations.”

This is in connection with Fyffes handling of labor disputes and concerns involving its Honduran subsidiary Suragroh.

The 90 days were up on August 2, however the ETI says it has yet to reach a conclusion and the matter will be readdressed next month.

“In ETI’s efforts to find a resolution to the complaint made against Fyffes, it is yet to come either to a definitive agreement on an agreed way forward or to the conclusion that there is insufficient common ground for any progress,” says a statement.

“While the original date set for this process to be concluded was August 2, this will now be extended to September 8, in part to acknowledge that the European summer vacation period has introduced delays.

“The ETI board will next meet on September 14 and will review the final conclusion in this process.”

In a statement, a Fyffes spokesman confirmed the Ireland-based and Japanese-owned fruit importer continued to engage with the International Union of Farmworkers (IUF), which originally made complaints against Fyffes conduct at its Honduran operations.

“On May 4 the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Board recommended that Fyffes engage with the IUF to create a mutually agreed framework for engagement. It suspended Fyffes ETI membership for 90 days, expiring on August 2, to allow time for that engagement,” the spokesman said.

“As recommended by ETI, Fyffes has engaged with the IUF and that process is ongoing. Acknowledging scheduling difficulties due to the European vacation period, the ETI has extended the deadline to September 8 to allow further progress to be made.

“Fyffes is a responsible employer and fully respects the rights of all its workers including their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The company has a long history of providing fair and equal employment in Central America, contributing to the lives of the communities in which it operates.”

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