The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) order to Nutri-Asia Incorporated (NAI) to regularize 80 of its workers is an initial victory of the ongoing strike at the country’s biggest condiment manufacturer.
“This is an initial victory of the workers’ strike at Nutri-Asia. The DOLE has been forced to come out with a decision to regularize 80 contractual workers because the workers are unionized and are militantly asserting their rights,” KMU chairperson Elmer Labog told Kodao.
In a July 5 announcement, the DOLE said it has ordered NAI to regularize workers contracted through Asia Pro Multi-Purpose Cooperative (AMPC) because it is engaged in an illegal labor-only contracting agreement.
In an report issued last June 24, DOLE Region 3 director Zenaida Angara-Campita said AMPC has no capacity to buy its own equipment and machines and is a mere NAI lessee.
AMPC also has no control and supervision over its contracted workers under the agreement it entered into with NAI, he agency said.
DOLE said the NAI violated Article 106 of the Labor Code that only allows labor-only contracting when the employer has insufficient capital or investment.
The agency added that the workers are directly involved in NAI’s core business and deserve to become regular workers of the company.
The order also said that the AMPC contracted workers who are assigned at NAI’s quality control and research divisions directly work for the condiment giant’s core business.
“In view of this, DOLE orders the AMPC to desist from its illegal activity and cease going into any more contracting agreement,” the agency said.
NAI manufactures ketchup, sauces and other condiments as well as cooking oil and juices that are dominant in the local market. The multi-billion peso company also exports its popular products abroad.
1.4k more contractuals
While welcome, DOLE’s order must also order the regularization of about 1,400 NAI workers more, KMU said.
The labor federation also said NAI must be punished for violating other provisions of the Labor Code such as the non-payment of the minimum wage and other labor standards as well as occupational health and safety.
“KMU salutes the workers of Nutri-Asia for their militant struggle to become regular workers, just wages, and right to unionize and launch strikes in the face of the brutal attacks by the conniving State and big capital,” the group said.
“The strike goes on! Until all the Nutri-Asia contractual workers are made regulars, until the laid off unionists are back, the strikers will only intensify their struggle,” it added.
KMU said it is calling on all fellow workers and the public to support the strike at Nutri-Asia as well as other labor strikes all over the country. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)