Philippines workers’ human rights violating giant in spotlight of annual fair

20 Apr 2015

European trade unions regret to see human rights violating giant Citra Mina/Philfresh featuring in the world’s largest seafood trade fair and call the EU to ensure that preferential trade schemes with the Philippines do not demise international labour standards.

On the occasion of tomorrow’s inauguration of the SeaFoodExpo in Brussels, EFFAT (the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) notice with regret the appearance of the Philippine company CitraMina/Philfresh in the largest world sea food trade platform. As second largest exporter of tuna, with record sales in Europe, Asia and North America, this hugely profitable Group is sadly renowned of its standing human rights violations and for the plight of its workers.

Triggered by continuous precarious employment contracts, poor health and safety conditions and retaliations to the workers, congressional hearings into abuses and illegal practices by Citra Mina started in March 2015 in the Philippines’ House of Representatives.

As the largest market for sea food and fisheries products, the EU has a responsibility to face these violations of rights and to prevent that the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP+) between the EU and the Philippines does not entail the demise of international labour standards.

Against this background EFFAT and ETF:

  • Recommend the EU to ensure that the Philippines and all sea food supplying countries develop fair industrial relations for the production of fish and sea food products.
  • Urge the tuna industry in the Philippines to maintain its GSP+ status by embracing a sustainable approach that incorporates social and labour sustainability
  • Call on the EU, as main trade partner, to trace the imported food and not to allow products from contested origin to appear on the shelves of European supermarkets
  • Welcome the efforts of the industry to address social issues in the sea food sector during the 5th  European Tuna conference, which takes place in Brussels on 20 April, one day before the Seafood Expo
  • Demand respect for Citra Mina workers’ human and social rights.

EFFAT Press contact: Maddalena Colombi, Tel: +32 2 218 77 30,
About EFFAT:  EFFAT is the European Federation of Trade Unions in the Food, Agriculture and Tourism sectors. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 2.6 million members towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies.

ETF Political Secretary for Fisheries: Livia Spera, Tel: +32 (0)470 93 05 89,

About ETF: The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) is a pan-European trade union organisation that embraces transport trade unions from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Central and Eastern European countries. The ETF represents more than 3.5 million transport workers from 231 transport unions and 41 European countries, in the following sectors: railways, road transport and logistics, maritime transport, inland waterways, civil aviation, ports & docks, tourism and fisheries.