21 April 2016
Illegally dismissed frozen food workers set up camp to demand reinstatement
DAVAO CITY – Sacked workers of a Japanese-owned frozen food exporter Nakashin Davao International set up a protest camp outside the company premises today to call for their immediate reinstatement. Nakashin is an exporter of frozen mangoes and pineapple to the European and Japanese market and is based in Malagamot, Davao City.
On April 9, 2016, Nakashin dismissed seventy five (75) of its workers when they refused to sign a blank waiver and quitclaim and to write a resignation letter in exchange for one thousand pesos (P1,000.00). Most of them had worked for the company for three to eight years and signing the waiver and quitclaim would automatically cut their length of service.
Lester Millado, president of the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Nakashin (NAMANA) explained why they set up the workers’ camp, “We have set up a camp outside Nakashin because we refuse to be duped by the management’s effort in forcing us to sign the waiver and quitclaim in exchange for our length of service. We should be regular workers now and yet, they want us to go back to zero.”
Millado said that they filed a case on December 2015 against the company for failing to pay their Service Incentive Leave (SIL). The worker-leader lamented the pro-capitalist stance of the Department of Labor and Employment, particularly on the Labor Laws Compliance Inspector assigned to their case who told them to just cooperate and accept the management’s offer of settlement, to sign the quitclaims so that they can go back to work.
Two rounds of illegal dismissals have been undertaken by the company in an apparent effort to totally implement the contractual scheme of employment: the first in January where 15 employees were dismissed and then the recent one which dismissed 75. Of its total workforce of over 300 employees, only twenty (20) are acknowledged by the company as regulars. All the rest are employed by labor agencies DBS and Workstation.
Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno – KMU in Southern Mindanao lambasted Nakashin for the illegal dismissals and hit the DOLE for allowing foreign capitalists to hoodwink Filipino workers and in some instances, even colluding with capitalists to pressure workers into signing waivers and quitclaims, essentially surrendering their chances of achieving regular employment.
“This is not the first time that a Japanese-owned company has done the exact same thing to its workers. Digos-based brickmaker Nakayama also implemented this deceitful scheme to dispose of hundreds of their workers. It is indeed a condemnable trend that workers who assert their rights to labor standards and regularization are immediately sacked and the government lets these abusive capitalists get away with it,” said Carlo Olalo, secretary general of KMU SMR.
The labor leader said that the dismissed workers are assigned in tasks considered “necessary and desirable” to the business and hence their jobs should not be contracted out. In particular, the workers belong in the receiving, blanching, harvesting, research and development, packing, boxing, and cold storage areas.
Olalo explained that as long as our laws permit the contractualization of jobs, workers will continue to suffer, “So long as the Aquino government or any future government clings to imperialist neoliberal policies on labor, our workers will be under the perpetual mercy and control of capitalists. We should junk the laws which normalize contractual work such as the Herrera Law and Department Order 18-A, Series of 2011.”
KMU lauded the protest action of the dismissed Nakashin workers. The group called on fellow workers and unionists to support the struggle of the Nakashin workers and demanded the passage of the Regular Employment Bill.###
Reference: Lester Millado, president, NAMANA, 09053733294
Carlo Olalo, secretary general, KMU Southern Mindanao, 0912 386 1000