19 February 2010
Consistent with the government-capitalist framework of crippling workers’ unions, food giant Dole Philippines operating in South Cotabato is once again using a fake employees’ organization to divide the ranks of workers and kick out union leaders who are asserting workers’ rights.
UR-Dole, the company-backed organization of employees, has called for a general assembly of workers in an effort to gather an impeach vote against union leaders of Amado Kadena , the 5,000-strong union under the National Federation of Workers Union-KMU (NAFLU-KMU).
“Obviously, UR-Dole does not have any right to call for a general assembly. How can their call be legitimate when they are the ones distributing flyers and hosting a weekly radio show tagging union leaders and unionists as supporters of the communist insurgency? They are no different from the military’s unit which illegally arrested the 43 health workers in Morong, Rizal,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.
“We see the move of UR-Dole as part of the management’s renewed crackdown versus legitimate union leaders who are actively campaigning for the implementation of specific CBA provisions on workers’ benefits,” he added.
The labor department has ordered AK to call for a general assembly of workers to discuss the non-implementation of some CBA provisions. But Dole Philippines has gone ahead of AK, using the labor department’s order to gather workers and campaign for the impeachment of active union leaders.
“By using its well-funded attack dog to put the union in disarray, Dole Philippines is cooking a lame tactic in the name of suppressing the workers’ fight for their labor rights. Like its previous union-busting schemes such as illegal arrest of the union president, this new tactic will eventually fail, as its anti-worker stance has even soldered a strong unity among workers,” Labog said.
In July 19, 2007, AK-NAFLU-KMU’s union leader, Jose “Ka JT” Teruel, was arrested by the Philippine National Police in Polomolok, South Cotabato on charges of 20 counts of falsification of private documents filed by company-backed union National Federation of Labor (NFL).
After the arrest, the vice president, treasurer and secretary of the union were dismissed by Dole Philippines on mere charges of “absent without permission,”
“Big foreign corporations like Dole Philippines are hell-bent in crushing KMU unions because they see our brand of genuine and militant trade unionism as hurtful to their greedy profiteering. They want us crushed so that they can easily implement anti-worker policies like retrenchment and contractualization for profit’s sake,” Labog explained.
KMU said the anti-union campaign of big businesses goes hand in hand with the Arroyo regime’s policy of crushing the trade union movement. In Dole Philippines, this has taken the form of anti-union lectures of the military in the 24,000-hectare plantation. Nationwide, trade union repression has claimed the lives of 93 union leaders.
Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog