May 16, 2011
Coco workers’ strike averted with compromise agreement; union gains victory but….
Davao City- Averting a possible crippling strike and two months after they staged daily picket demonstrations against union-busting, the Kahugpungan sa Trabahante sa Superstar (KTS) settled a compromise agreement with the Superstar Coconut Products, Inc., Friday. Yet, to the dismay of the union, even as negotiation was ongoing and a day after the agreement was signed, labor agencies of the company forced workers to sign a waiver of their right to organize union as a pre-requisite for their salaries to be released.
Witnessed by representatives from the office of the Secretary of Labor and the Regional Conciliation and Mediation Board, the compromise agreement essentially grants the demands of the workers for the company to implement occupational safety and health measures and equipments, resolve the unpaid overquota, end schemes to bust the union and reinstate active union members from lowered positions.
“This is a tactical victory but we are aghast that the management continues to deceive us in so many ways. We can never put our full trust with the Superstar management because of its dirty tactics and deception,” said Marven Morales, Secretary of KTS, an affiliate of Association of Democratic Labor Organizations (ADLO).
In the agreement, the management agreed to subscribe to the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board a time and motion study on the ‘sobrang buhos’ or the overquota of coconuts in order to determine the actual quota for the workers and their corresponding pay. Also, the management promised to reinstate the 27 demoted workers from their original work as shellers, parers and haulers and to also provide basic safety gears for the workers. The Superstar management and its agencies also agreed to stop forcing workers to sign and accept the separation pay.
Some of the workers who were forced to sign the dubious paper of “no union” have reported the incident at the labor department early today.
Morales said, “We will remain vigilant that the compromise agreement will be fully followed. Should the management violate the agreement, we will not hesitate to push through with the strike. We can only rely on our united strength; our collective will and determination are our weapons against exploitation and oppression.”###