Luke Coxon, Spokesperson of Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS), explains, “Nestlé workers in the Philippines under the United Filipino Employees-Drug Food and Allied Industries -Kilusang Mayo Uno (UFE-DFA-KMU) have been on strike since January 14, 2002 for their right to retirement benefits. To this day, Nestlé refuses to include the workers’ retirement benefits in the collective bargaining negotiation despite a Supreme Court ruling ordering them to negotiate. The strike has both directly and indirectly resulted in the deaths of 23 union members, including union president Diosdado Fortuna, who was assassinated on his way home from the picket line on September 22, 2005, his predecessor Meliton Roxas was also murdered and the current leadership continue to live in fear of their lives.”
“We salute the perseverance of Nestlé workers and we support their demands for justice. Even though their struggle has been long and difficult, their determination in fighting for what is right and just, is an inspiration to workers in New Zealand and everywhere. Today we also support protests in the Philippines demanding dismissal of another false murder charge against Nestlé union lawyer Remigio Saladero and others,” APS stated.
In Vienna, more than 30 activists led by the newly organized Philippine Solidarity and Friendship Group (PSFG) held a 2-hour picket infront the office of Nestle, Margarethengurtel/Emil-KralikG on June18.
During the picket, a program was held and a statement distributed appealing for:
Nestle Management to return to the negotiating table and resume CBA negotiation with the Union, especially on the issue of retirement benefits, and
United Nations Commission on HR to send representative(s) to the Philippines and/or ask the Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines to conduct a thorough investigation of the human rights violations i.e., killing of Diosdado “Fort” Fortuna, and other related human rights issues.
The Solidarity Group is further advancing its campaign thru petition appeal for justice for the struggling 600 Nestle workers in Cabuyao, Laguna, Philippines. The appeal can be signed in http://pinas-first.com/phpPETITION/index.php