The Kilusang Mayo Uno yesterday held coordinated protest actions in front of the Japanese embassy in Pasay and the Consular Office in the city to convince Japanese officials to mediate between the owner and the workers of the Nakashin Davao International, Inc.
“Nag strike mi sa consulate aron ipanghimangno ang dili pagsunod sa Nakashin sa balaod pamuo diri sa nasud (We staged a picket at the Japanese consulate to make them realize that the company is not following the country’s labor laws),” KMU Secretary General Carlo Olalo told Mirror in an interview.
Olalo said they also asked the Japanese officials to talk to Nakashin owner Sumihito Nakao for the reinstatement and regularization of the 75 workers who were “illegally retrenched by the company.
“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 said through KMU’s Facebook account.
Olalo said 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.
This was however denied by Nakashin President Keisuke Nakao who said “they are not our workers but they are employed by the agencies which we have contracted so they should address their complaints to the agencies.
Nakashin, which is engaged in the export of frozen fruits in Japan, Europe and other countries, has declared a shut down and is set to formally file company closure with the Labor Department. However, KMU said the company has not filed a formal notice of closure with the labor department yet.
“Until such a notice is duly served to the DOLE and to the workers, the claim of “shutting down” and “closing shop” remains to be a threat waved by Nakashin to suppress the strike,” Olalo said.
Nakao said the company has already lost P140 million since the KMU and the agency workers staged a barricade barring the company premises for months now.
Nakashin has several regular workers who are holding technical and important positions in the company but has contracted two agencies namely Workstation and DBS Advance Concept, with almost 300 workers for certain work requirements.
However, the company did not renew its contract with the said agencies after its workers complained of salary delays and other related complaints. Nakashin has contracted a new agency on the condition that the said agency would absorb the workers of the previous agencies so they would not lose their jobs.
While 240 of these workers have continued to work for Nakashin under the new agency, there were 75 workers who pressured the new agency to retain them and their tenure or years of service with the previous agency.
Since this was unacceptable to the new agency, the 75 workers have been fired. These are the same workers picketing the company, demanding reinstatement and regularization with Nakashin.
Olalo said 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.
While the KMU and several of the 75 workers have put barricades preventing the entry and exit of workers in the company premises, it was noted that they have not filed any case with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and are in fact conducting an illegal protest according to Nakao.
While Vice Mayor Paulo Duterte has tried to mediate between the company and the protesting workers, and has urged the company not to close down yet for the sake of the 240 workers, but Nakao said the company has already suffered so much losses.
Nakashin exports up to 2,500 tons of frozen mango, pineapple and other fruits to other countries every year but with the ongoing protest, the company’s foreign customers have cancelled all their contracts with Nakashin which took years to negotiate and even threatened to sue Nakashin for breach of contract because of its failure to deliver.
The workers in the city are not just the ones that will be affected by Nakashin’s closure since hundreds of farmers in Maguindanao also rely on the company’s business as it sources its fruits from the area. Lovely Carillo