Brussels, 21 April 2017 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC has expressed deep concern over a vicious attack against Moises Sanchez, leader of the Honduran agriculture trade union STAS, currently fighting multinational fruit company Fyffes for better working conditions.
On 13 April, Moises and his brother Misael were cycling to their place of residence in the village La Permuta, Honduras, when they were ambushed by a gang of six armed men. While trying to defend his brother, Misael was seriously wounded in the face by one of the criminals who attacked him with a machete.
The union leader meanwhile was kidnapped, beaten and threatened with death if he continued the union work. One of the criminals attempted to murder him at the scene, but was dissuaded by the others who said that this would be his last warning.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “We are horrified by this attack that comes after unions and workers´ rights activists around the world have exposed the abuses of Fyffes in their melon plantations in Honduras. The ITUC has been and will continue to support Moises and the STAS union in their legitimate demands to be treated with dignity”.
Fyffes has been at the center of a scandal involving labour rights abuses in the south of Honduras. Workers, the majority of which are women, are not paid the mandatory minimum wage, work long and extensive shifts, are subjected to poor hygiene and safety conditions and threatened with dismissals when trying to organise.
“This crime must be promptly and thoroughly investigated and those responsible must be tracked down and punished with the full force of the law. We urge the Honduran authorities to do everything in their power to protect the life of Moises Sanchez and the other union members”, said Burrow.
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