10 November 1998
Fruit companies lay off staff on estates hit by Mitch

MULTINATIONAL fruit companies, whose estates have been ravaged by Hurricane Mitch, have laid off all of their 16,000 staff in Honduras.

Employees of one of the companies, Standard Fruit, began talks with the banana unions to negotiate the terms of a temporary severance package.

The company says almost 80% of its plantations – about 5261 hectares (13,000 acres) – were ruined by flooding which has stopped exports.

Many farms will need to be replanted.