Rainforest Alliance is sending an automated response to those who have supported our campaign for decertification of the Tres Hermanas plantation in Honduras.
The Rainforest Alliance response only confirms what the IUF, FESTAGRO, SITRAINBA and other Rainforest critics are saying: certification of Tres Hermanas strengthens the framework of impunity which weighs on the region and its banana workers when they organize trade unions.
Rainforest agrees that its own audit of this company found “three Major Non-Conformances related to the complaint about workers’ rights violations” plus “a fourth non-conformance related to the use of agrochemicals was also identified”.
They state that these violations of fundamental human rights are “non-critical”.
They ignore the creation by the company of a bogus union as part of their campaign to crush SITRAINBA, and legitimize this employer organization by referring to “unions” on the plantation. They pass over the history of sackings, suspensions and harassment of SITRAINBA members.
And they have given the company at least until May 2014 to deal with these issues. In the meantime, Tres Hermanas is to continue selling its banana with the Rainforest logo.
Rainforest Alliance claims “robust procedures are in place to investigate complaints as required, and the on-going system of monitoring and auditing required to maintaining certification does provide an incentive to farm managers to make continual improvements to the practices implemented.”
The IUF believes that strong, independent unions are the best “monitors” of working conditions. External audits can only provide a snapshot at best of working conditions; a union would be there every day representing workers, bargaining for improvements in pay and conditions and making sure labour legislation and international standards are applied.
Tres Hermanas management clearly understands this better than Rainforest Alliance.
Look behind the seal.