Dublin-headquartered fruit company Fyffes strongly rejected allegations of abuse at a Honduran melon plantation, saying the safety of its workers is a "core value".
The Times Ireland edition reported on Thursday that Fyffes had its fair-trade certification suspended after allegations that workers had not been paid the minimum wage, were exposed to hazardous chemicals and were not allowed to form unions.
A statement from the fruit producer’s spokesman said: “We strongly refute these allegations. The safety and well-being of all our workers is a core value of Fyffes.”
The newspaper added that a UK workers’ rights body, the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) threatened to expel Fyffes after it found aspects of a complaint it investigated to be “robust”. It subsequently suspended Fyffes.
Fyffes said on Thursday the ETI had previously communicated that it was satisfied there was “no further action required regarding the issue of minimum wage and the issue of worker health and safety, including chemicals”.
“On the issue of freedom of association, a number of unions have been seeking recognition on our farms. The Honduran ministry of labour has recently confirmed, on appeal, that one of those unions is not legally constituted, giving rise to a conflict for Fyffes.”
It added that ETI suspension has had “no impact on our commitment to the highest ethical standards”.