ETI’s Board met on May 4th as part of an ongoing ETI investigation into a dispute between Fyffes, the NGO BananaLink and the International Union of Foodworkers as outlined here. At the ETI Board meeting, the following decisions were made.
May 5th statement:
The ETI Board met on May 4th and considered the recommendation made by the Board sub-committee that reviewed Fyffes in the context of its membership obligations. This was as follows:
A recommendation to the ETI Board as a whole that Fyffes’ membership of the ETI is suspended, and that Fyffes is required to work with the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) to reach a mutually agreeable framework for engagement. Failure to do this within an agreed timeframe of 90 days would result in expulsion from ETI membership.
The Board considered this recommendation, and representations that had been made to the Board’s corporate members, and decided to uphold the recommendation of the sub-committee in its entirety.
ETI’s Executive Director Peter McAllister was therefore instructed by the ETI Board that with effect immediately, Fyffes was suspended from membership of ETI.
This will be communicated formally by letter on Monday, May 8th, but as stated above, takes effect as of the Board meeting. This was also to be communicated through our website and to our membership.
Peter McAllister was additionally directed by the Board to offer any assistance to help enable a dialogue between Fyffes and the IUF in line with the above recommendation.
This statement was released by ETI's External Relations team - +44 (0)20 7841 4350
Peter McAllister’s May 5th comment in light of the above statement:
Labour rights issues can be complex. With many different parties, and often across different cultures, there is frequently room for different interpretations and genuine ambiguity.
However, there is one constant for ETI that has been at the heart of the dispute between IUF, Banana Link and Fyffes with respect to the Suragroh operations in Honduras; workers should be able to enjoy their right to be represented by those they choose and so engage with management.
We know from many examples that when workers are properly represented and can engage with management through a meaningful process of social dialogue, worker representatives are able to help ensure good working conditions. This can include addressing health and safety issues, avoiding child or forced labour and negotiating for appropriate wages while contributing to a well-run and profitable business.
Fyffes' suspension from ETI, whilst not a decision that has been taken lightly, offers a focused and time-bound opening to grasp the opportunity that such engagement represents.
The aim is not only to resolve short term issues but build a better business through developing mature systems of industrial relations.
ETI urges all parties to take this opportunity for constructive engagement and we will be offering assistance throughout the process.