Hearing of labor dispute at Japanese banana firm moved

Dec. 28, 2018

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Banana workers under the labor group called Namasufa will have to wait for next year to settle its labor dispute after the Sumifru management failed to show up in a meeting called by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Manila scheduled on Thursday.

More than a month since the banana workers in Compostela Valley staged a campout in Liwasan Bonifacio, Manila to push the DOLE to make a serious action to have the multinational banana company Sumifru Philippines Corporation face its workers in a collective bargaining agreement.

Namasufa President Paul John Dizon expressed dismay that the DOLE “doesn’t seem to pressure the owners of Sumifru to answer its violations against its workers.”

The workers criticized Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for failing to execute the final and executory 2010 DOLE decision on the workers’ regularization which was also affirmed by the Supreme Court last June 7, 2017.

“We are a testament that DOLE is inutile in implementing the law, and even the regularization orders which it eagerly claims as its achievement. We have long been declared as regular workers of Sumifru, but the company is blatantly disregarding the Court’s order and the DOLE failed to act on it,” Dizon said.

The DOLE instead rescheduled the meeting to January 4, 2019.

“If there’s even a meeting on that day but will still not be favorable for the Namasufa workers, we will definitely move our campout outside the DOLE office,” Dizon said.

In a picket outside DOLE’s office, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) also called the pronouncement of Sec. Bello claiming nearly half a million were already regularized under Duterte administration as “pure propaganda and far from reality.”

KMU said that there may be regularization order from DOLE on different companies like Jollibee and PLDT, but the companies instead laid off its workers.

The group hit the DOLE’s approach of giving leeway to employers in “voluntarily” regularizing instead of implementing the full compliance of the workers’ regularization.

KMU said that this “voluntary” regularization scheme has left more contractual workers than ever since companies would opt not to regularize in order to retain their profit margins. (davaotoday.com)

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