Bottling and feeds processing workers protest DOLE decision denying them regular status

DAVAO CITY – On the 29th anniversary of the passage of the Herrera Law, contractual workers of Coca-Cola FEMSA Davao and Julu Feeds, Inc. picketed the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to protest against the recent decision acquitting labor agencies working under both companies of Labor-Only Contracting (LOC). The decision earned the ire of the protesting contractual workers since under the law, if such agencies are proven to practice LOC, an employer-employee relationship automatically exists between the principal and the workers, meaning that the workers would attain regular status with both Coca-Cola and Julu as their employers, respectively.

Image may contain: outdoorThe decision penned by the DOLE Regional Director Raymundo Agravante declared that the alleged existence of LOC by the agencies are “unfounded” and thus ruled against the workers.

Meanwhile, Kilusang Mayo Uno-SMR blasted the decision, saying that it was clearly arrived at without thorough examination and scrutiny of the evidence presented by the workers.

“We are frustrated with the arbitrary ruling of the DOLE Regional Director because the workers presented strong evidence that LOC exists. The agencies had no substantial capitalization and both Coca-Cola and Julu clearly exerted control over the conduct of workers, standards, and process. The DOLE deliberately ignored such evidence and just proceeded to decide in favor of the capitalists,” said Carl Anthony Olalo, secretary-general of KMU-SMR.

The labor center further stated that workers count on the DOLE to provide at least an objective view of each case before releasing a decision which has disastrous consequences on their livelihood.

“This decision deprives contractual workers with the security of tenure they deserve, after years of working for the company. The least that the DOLE can do is apply the letter of the law objectively, which it did not do,” added Olalo.

Olalo blamed the country’s existing labor laws, such as PD 442 or the Labor Code and the Herrera Law, for legitimizing or ignoring the insidiousness of contractualization. Olalo further admonished the DOLE that they should expect more intensified protests from the workers in light of the compromise position Pres. Duterte has taken with respect to ending contractualization.

“If Duterte takes his promises lightly, we do not. Work is our livelihood, and a property right. We will do everything we can in order to ensure that every contractual worker is regularized. We want Duterte to sign the EO prepared by the labor sector. It’s all or nothing,” concluded Olalo.###

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On Hearts Day: Workers lament continued Endo


February 14, 2018

On Hearts Day: Workers lament continued Endo

DAVAO CITY – Workers call the administration’s failure to end labor contractualization as ‘heartless’ as people world over celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Image may contain: one or more people, crowd and outdoor“More than being heartbroken due to Duterte’s unfulfilled promise, we are appalled by the fact that contractualization is like a tragedy that continues to ruin lives of millions of workers all over the country,” said Carl Olalo, KMU Southern Mindanao Secretary-General.

The group said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte promised to ban the “end of contract” or endo scheme during his campaign but did not even promulgate an Executive Order to make good on his promise.

In a dialogue with the labor sector on February 7, President Duterte again asked labor leaders for more time and consideration in fulfilling his campaign promise of ending contractualization.

“For two years in office, we are still where we left off. During Duterte’s campaign, he wooed the workers by promising to end contractualization if he will be elected but we have been left out in favor of business oligarchs ,” Olalo added.

Image may contain: 9 people, crowd and outdoorOlalo said that there have been too many broken promises from the President, not only with respect to contractualization but also on the implementation of genuine land reform, an independent foreign policy and weeding out corruption.

The labor leader also lambasted Duterte’s complete turnabout in his self-characterization as a “socialist”, saying he was untruthful considering that he has become the epitome of fascism, attempting to consolidate his power through a proposed Charter Change that can pave way for a dictatorship and allow the total sell-out of our national patrimony.

Olalo said that Duterte has turned his back on the peace process, undermined our sovereignty by being complicit to China’s militarization of Philippine territory, and declared all-out war not only against revolutionary groups but also against the Moro people with his extended Martial Law.

Duterte also promised never to end the Drug War which has already claimed the lives of more than 10,000 civilians and despite the impending scrutiny by the International Criminal Court. He has furthermore orchestrated a crackdown on dissent, targeting mainly progressive leaders and organizations of the Left.

“It is indeed heartbreaking to see President Duterte reverse his positions on issues affecting the poor and powerless. When he was still Mayor, he was consistent in helping the lumad and the peasants but now, he is killing the lumad and forcing them to relocate from their ancestral lands to pave way for corporations and mining companies to plunder their natural resources. The poor banked their hopes on Duterte to pull them from poverty but instead he unleashed the TRAIN which has run them over,” added Olalo.

“In his unabashed fascism, he has unraveled the extent of his misogyny and salaciousness with his order to the mercenary Armed Forces of the Philippines to shoot female revolutionary in the NPA in the vagina. He has shown his utter disrespect for women,” the labor leader explained.

“Gender violence is a reality in the lives of many women, including women workers. The President’s behavior and blatant sexism can no longer be tolerated by the workers. In the unions and in workplaces, we are trying to make spaces for women because we view them as equal partners in progress and development. We will continue doing so, and call out the President for his discrimination of women,” expressed Olalo.

“We rise with the rest of the women in the world today to call for an end to all gender violence. We no longer spare the President the benefit of the doubt that he will make good on his promises to create a pro-people and pro-worker government. It has been made very clear by the President himself who he really favors: it is the oligarchs and foreign monopoly capitalists. Enough is enough. Like any romantic relationship characterized by verbal or emotional abuse, the workers are rejecting Duterte on Valentine’s Day.There is no other recourse for the workers but to call for his immediate ouster,” the labor leader concluded.###

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#BigoSaEndo #EndoLangAngForever

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31 January 2018



 In the nearly two years since Duterte sat in power, the only thing that has been regularized are the threats on the democratic rights of the workers. Through his reckless declarations of going after so-called legal fronts of the New People’s Army (NPA), our member unions and federations across the region have reported leaders and unionists being constantly harassed, publicly threatened, and red-tagged by elements of the fascist military.

Around 1 p.m. in January 29, 2018, combined elements of 66th IBPA & 25th IBPA gathered the residents of Sitio Pogi, Brgy. San Miguel, Compostela, Compostela Valley Province and presented names of civilians who allegedly have links and responsibilities in the revolutionary NPA. Included among those maliciously tagged are union leaders in a banana company, namely Roland Cobrado, Perlita Milallos, and Elmer Atamosa. In that meeting, the soldiers unabashedly called on the residents present to convince the aforementioned union leaders to surrender to the authorities within three (3) days or else be arrested or killed. In the presence of workers, relatives and friends of the leaders, the soldiers proudly declared that they are merely implementing the order of the Commander-in-Chief to go after the leaders of the “legal fronts” of the NPA.

Kilusang Mayo Uno – Southern Mindanao condemns to the utmost this brazen act of the AFP with the blessing of their Commander-in-Chief Duterte. The Compostela area is recognized as a hotspot of labor rights violations by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and the military’s involvement and intervention in labor-related matters have been constantly documented. Many of our union leaders have faced threats, harassment or death due to their resistance to capitalist oppression. Cobrado, Milallos and Atamosa are known not for being leaders of the NPA but as unfailing resisters against illegal dismissals, contractualization and union busting.

The regime has orchestrated a series of arrests against key leaders of the mass movement in its bid to set the stage for a massive crackdown of the legal Left. Days ago, the leader of the teachers’ union ACT-NCR was targeted for arrest, calls for the surrender of known progressive leaders Sheena Duazo of BAYAN-SMR and Hanimay Suazo of Karapatan-SMR were aired at ABS-CBN’s DXAB and Maayong Buntag Mindanao, and an NPA “surrenderee” . Quiroga was paraded by the military as a coordinator of Anakpawis Partylist. In addition, simulation of lockdown in Davao City and other parts of the country are already scheduled to create a climate of immediate terror threat to condition the people to consent to nationwide martial law.

The workers will not consent but resist all attempts at violating their constitutional rights and rights provided for under international labour laws. The workers hold both the AFP and US-Duterte regime accountable for whatever befalls the three leaders and any other worker or unionist as a result of this senseless government crackdown. This only emboldens us to rally our ranks and strengthen our unity against the terror acts of this regime and uphold the democratic rights of workers and the people. We will continue to fight government fascism as we call for higher wages, regular jobs, and our democratic rights.#

For reference:

Carl Olalo,
Secretary General-KMU Southern Mindanao Region
Contact #: 09123861000

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Workers slam government’s Compressed Workweek plan

DAVAO CITY – Workers led by militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao held a protest today at the Department of Labor and Employment to oppose the plan of the government to implement a compressed workweek.

Last August 24, 2017 the House of Representatives hastily approved the House Bill 6152 (Compressed Work Week Scheme Bill) that aims to amend the present 8-hours normal work into 12-hours and not to exceed 48-hours of work per week. Under the said bill, the overtime work will start after the worker works 12 hours during the day or after rendering 48 hours during the week. The Senate version of the Bill is Senate Bill 1571, which was sponsored by Sen. Joel Villanueva.

The workers lambasted the proposed law as it will only add workload, diminish income, is hazardous, and is an outright attack on the right to unionize and collective bargaining.

Under the Compressed Work Week Scheme (4-day Workweek, 12 hours daily work), the number of working days per year of the workers will be reduced to 294 from the present 313. This translates to P35,360.00 salary-lost per year for the worker in Davao Region. A daily 4-hour overtime work for 294 days will not be compensated amounting to a loss equivalent to P44,408.32 per year of uncompensated Overtime Work. Further, due to the reduced number of actual days worked in the entire year, the 13th month pay of the workers will also be reduced by P 2,946.33 per year. The total income lost by every worker per year in Davao Region will be P 82,714.65/yr or P 325.45/day if the proposed bill passes into law.

The new work scheme also poses health risk for the workers. Numerous studies have already been conducted in other countries which implement 12-hours work in different companies. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine of American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the risk of having an industrial accident is raised by 37% for workers working more than 12 hours a day. Working more than 60 hours per week relates to additional 23% accident risk. As the work schedules increase, the risks grow accordingly.

Based on another study from Ohio State University, women suffer more from long exposure of work. Women who work an average of 60 hours or more had triple risk of diabetes, heart trouble, cancer, and arthritis. According also to occupational psychologists, people do not function as effectively when they are tired or stressed.

If implemented, the workers will now have lesser time to communicate with their co-workers that affects their time for social purposes including unionizing and collective bargaining especially as contractualization persists.

Compressed Work Week is nothing but dictates of the profit-greedy capitalists under the pretext of neoliberalism. The new work scheme is just one of the flurry of anti-worker measures that the Duterte government has offered. Already, the proposed Tax Reform and PUV Modernization program are measures feared to decimate workers’ jobs and rights. #

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ComVal Banana Workers Protest Chemical Poisoning

DAVAO CITY – Workers of foreign-owned banana exporters Sumifru and Musahamat Farms protested today at the offices of both companies for chemical poisoning suffered by its workers in their respective banana packing plants in Compostela and Pantukan, Compostela Valley.

Image may contain: 7 people, people standing, crowd and outdoorThe workers claim that the chemical fluozinam with brand name Omega being applied in the crowns (“pungango”) of bananas to prevent early ripening was responsible for the series of poisoning in the workplace. The workers in the packing plants complain of dizziness, nausea, dry throat, blurred vision and stomach ache when exposed. Several workers have been hospitalized as a result of exposure to Omega.

The Omega chemical was categorized as blacklisted by Greenpeace in Germany, an independent global environmental organization, for containing hazardous properties.

Omega was first used by Sumifru in 2016. The packing plant workers of Sumifru in Compostela complained to the company of the strong odor of the chemicals and its effects on their bodies. However, the company did not stop using the chemical but only improved the packing plants’ ventilation system. Due to this neglect, last August 24, five (5) workers were hospitalized after fainting at work. One worker was placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) due to severe dizziness.

In Pantukan, similar experiences were aired by the packing plant workers of Musahamat Farms, Inc. who were exposed to the same chemical. The workers bared that the company utilized the said chemical in 2013 but was stopped after the workers complained of its effects. However, this year, the company used it back that resulted to massive complains.
Herminia Lee Furro, 48 years old, who has worked for Musahamat for 10 years, bared that this month she experienced headache, spasm, sore eyes, skin itchiness, joint pains, and heart enlargement due to inhalation of the chemical fume.

Another packing plant worker, Pebirencia Mira, 45 years old, suffered premature labor last January 2017 which her doctor attributed to chemical exposure. Another worse scenario recorded was that of Melodine Desmopan Genabe who suffered a miscarriage on 2013 which the doctor also found to be a result of chemical poisoning.

Arlene Mantilla Paller lost her voice for the last two weeks due to exposure of Omega. She also suffered body pains, fever and headaches.

The protesting workers called on their companies to immediately ban the use of the hazardous Omega chemical.
They likewise demanded for reparation for health risks and loss of income as a result of exposure. Lastly, they called on the Department of Labor and Employment to issue a work stoppage order of the companies due to the health hazard in the workplace.#

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Strike against jeepney phaseout a success, paralyzes 90% of public transportation in Davao

DAVAO CITY – Transport group Transport Solidarity in Southern Mindanao for Independence and Nationalism (TRANSMISION) an affiliate of Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide or PISTON and labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao jointly declared the transport strike a resounding success, claiming 90% paralyzation of public transportation in Davao City. Similar transport strikes launched in Panabo City and Tagum, Davao del Norte by jeepney and tricycle drivers were also declared a success, paralyzing 70% of public transportation.

Image may contain: outdoorThe October 16 nationwide transport strike, which began at 4:00 in the morning here in Davao City, was formally declared successful in a press conference called around 4:00 in the afternoon. However, the fight is not over yet, as far as the organizers and participating groups are concerned.

According to Ricardo Baron, spokesperson of TRANSMISION-PISTON, the success of the strike even bolsters the need to conduct more mass actions and strikes in the future.

The transport leader saluted and congratulated all the drivers, operators and commuters who supported the strike, despite the national administration’s counter-mobilization efforts suspending work and classes on all levels and public offices and demonizing the groups involved.

Image may contain: outdoor“We know that the work and class suspensions, even the malicious tagging of the strike as “destabilization attempts” were aimed at deterring the strike but it proved to be an act of futility. In the end, even in Duterte’s home city, not even a national holiday can contain the people’s growing rage against the jeepney phaseout which will be the death of the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of drivers. The Duterte administration must listen.”, Baron added.

The transport leader said that drivers and operators in the Southern Mindanao Region overwhelmingly oppose the PUV Modernization Program and the Department Order 2017-11 or Omnibus Guidelines on the Planning and Identification of Public Road Transportation and Franchise Insurance.

In Davao City, the group is likewise opposing the implementation of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) which will replace the jeepneys plying the city’s thoroughfares as pushed by Mayor Sara Duterte..

The groups said that the HPBS is a double whammy to the drivers and operators because aside from the phasing-out of their present jeepney units through the HPBS, jeepneys in the city will be relegated to the routes in interior barangays and will no longer be allowed the ply the main roads and thoroughfares in the city.

Kilusang Mayo Uno – SMR also called on workers and commuters in the region to resist the corporatization and monopolization of the transportation industry.

Carl Antholy Olalo, secretary general of KMU-SMR, encouraged the commuting public to study further the real intentions behind the modernization program, saying that the promises of the modernization program are nothing but lies.

“The PUV Modernization Program of President Duterte and the High Priority Bus System of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, are presented as modernization projects which will have trickle-down benefits to commuters but are really pro-capitalist projects which will benefit industry giants Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, General Motors and other foreign companies. The rich will get richer while our drivers and operators will be out of jobs,” the labor leader added.

“Participating in the strikes is an opportunity for us to show social solidarity with workers in public transportation. We would also like to register to the public that future transport strikes will be conducted again by the drivers and operators to oppose the City Government/Mayor Inday Sara’s plan to implement the HPBS and we seek the public’s consideration and support,” said Olalo.
For Reference:

Ricardo Baron
Carl Anthony Olalo
Secretary-General, Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao

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Picket Protest at the Corporate Headquarters of Musahamat Farms International

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EARLIER: As the workers declare a strike at Musahamat Farm 2 in Pantukan, Kilusang Mayo Uno – KMU Southern Mindanao launches a picket protest at the Corporate Headquarters of Arab-owned Musahamat Farms International at Pryce Tower, Bajada.

The workers’ strike was waged due to union busting as the company fired several union officers without basis.

Support the Strike of Musahamat Farm 2 Workers!
Stop Union Busting!
Respect the Rights of Workers and Unionists!

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Illegal dismissals push workers’ strike at Korean-owned banana exporter

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DAVAO CITY – Mass dismissals of workers have pushed workers to launch a strike against Korean-owned Shin Sun Tropical Fruit Corp. in Brgy. San Miguel, Compostela, Compostela Valley.

On March 16, fifty-three (53) workers organized under the union Shin Sun Workers Union – National Federation of Labor Unions – Kilusang Mayo Uno (SSWU-NAFLU-KMU) were retrenched by Shin Sun, majority of whom had been working for the company for two to seven years. In the banana industry where capitalists employ several labor agencies to supply labor requirements, the practice is also insidiously used in order to skirt the law on regularization.

In the case of Shin Sun, the company contracted ECQ Serve Human Resources, a labor agency later declared by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to be engaged in the prohibited Labor-only Contracting (LOC).

Under the Labor Code, if a company hires a labor-only contractor, the company (principal) will be considered the employer of the employees of the contractor. In this case, workers hired under ECQ should have been declared employees of Shin Sun. However, instead of regularizing the workers, the company retrenched 53 of them and hired another labor agency, Human Pros Manpower Agency, to recruit new workers.

Kilusang Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao blasted Shin Sun for the illegal dismissals and called the attention of the DOLE under the leadership of Sec. Silvestre Bello III to investigate Shin Sun’s illegal acts.

According to Carl Anthony Olalo, secretary general of KMU Southern Mindanao, the Shin Sun workers’ strike is the first strike launched in the region following the release of the much-hyped Department Order 174 which promised to end labor only contracting.

“This is a test case for the Duterte administration to bare its resolve in ending contractualization through strong intervention. The DOLE itself has declared the previous contractor as LOC and hence all workers employed under it should have been declared as employees of Shin Sun, not dismissed summarily, as what this Korean company has done,” said Olalo.

KMU is calling for the immediate reinstatement and regularization of the retrenched workers. The group also demanded the repeal of Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code and reiterated that this is the only way to get rid of contractualization.###

Carl Anthony Olalo, secretary general, KMU Southern Mindanao, 09123861000

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Workers Call on Lawmakers to Repeal provisions of Labor Code

23 February 2017


Workers call on lawmakers to repeal provisions of Labor Code

DAVAO CITY – Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao pressed Congress to repeal provisions of the Labor Code in order to do away with contractualization for good.

In a picket protest outside of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) where the House of Representatives Committee on Labor and Employment is conducting a hearing on labor issues in the region, workers called on legislators and the Department of Labor and Employment to work for the repeal of Articles 106-109 of Presidential Decree No. 442 or the Labor Code which accommodates the practice of contracting out jobs. Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code are provisions which allow subcontracting, contracting, and outsourcing of jobs as a legitimate employment arrangement.

According to Carlo Olalo, the proliferation of contractualization today is caused by two factors – the law itself and the implementation of the law.

“Articles 106 to 109 give life to contractualization. This is why ending contractualization necessitates not just the passage of stricter implementing rules to regulate Articles 106 to 109, which has been the response of past administrations, We need to get rid of these provisions and instead have employers directly hire workers instead of coursing them through these contractors and labor agencies,” Olalo said.

The labor group said that there are several categories of employment which employers can place workers performing non-core functions in, such as seasonal, casual, project-based, and others.

“What we want to eliminate is the practice today of indiscriminately hiring workers needed in performing essential or core functions as contractual workers, and depriving them altogether of the chance to become regularized,” explained Olalo.

The labor group also called on lawmakers to immediately pass House Bill 556 or the Regular Employment Bill as the alternative to end contractualization.###

Reference: Carlo Olalo, secretary general, KMU-SMR, 0912386100

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Japanese Embassy Picketed over Nakashin Strike

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a picket-protest at the Japanese Embassy in Pasay City this morning to demand the regularization of Nakashin Davao International Inc. workers.

Workers of the Japanese food manufacturing and export company operating in Davao City have been on strike since May 25 to demand the reinstatement of 75 workers who were illegally retrenched, the regularization of all long-term contractuals, and the full payment of the workers’ Service Incentive Leave and other underpaid benefits.

“We are calling on the Japanese government to tell their companies here in the country to respect workers’ rights. They must tell Nakashin to reinstate their illegally-retrenched workers and regularize all its long-term contractual employees,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

The Nakashin management terminated 75 workers last April 9 because of the latter’s refusal to sign waivers and quitclaims which would cut their length of service after workers held a protest demanding the regularization of long-term contractuals.

“The 75 workers who are asserting their regularization in Nakashin have been working in the company for four to nine years and therefore deserve nothing less, but were illegally retrenched. This is clearly a violation of workers’ rights and constitute contractualization,” said Labog.

The labor leader also insisted that the workers’ demands are just and the Nakashin management is bound by the Philippines’ labor laws to heed the demands and is more than capable of doing so.

“The long-term contractuals employed by the agencies hired by the company should already be deemed regular employees of Nakashin under the law, but are still being denied regularization. They have every right to hold a strike against this greedy capitalist,” Labog said.

Even existing labor laws state that employees who are performing tasks that are necessary and desirable to the usual business of the company – such as the Nakashin workers who are packers, slicers, cold storage attendants, and receivers – are considered regular employees.

The labor center meanwhile called on Filipino workers to support the strike of Nakashin workers, saying their fight for regularization is a blow to the Aquino government’s policy of promoting and legalizing contractual employment.

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