Workers Pressure Dole Philippines to Stop Harassment, Union Busting

Labor federation National Federation of Labor Unions-KMU (NAFLU-KMU) picketed today DOLE Philippines’ main office in Makati to condemn the company’s continued harassment and union busting, despite a Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) order for a status quo.

Through consistent collective action and lobbying, DoleFil local union Amado Kadena-NAFLU-KMU (AK-NAFLU-KMU) in the South Cotabato plantation was able to pressure the BLR to release a status quo order for the management-union dispute last March 2010.

Workers have earlier condemned the impeachment of active union officers in a general assembly convened by a management-backed union, UR Dole. New union officers, who are company-backed, were also elected during the assembly.

“The ‘general assembly’ which UR Dole and the Dolefil management convened was illegal. You don’t convene workers in a general assembly if you are not their union officials. You don’t impeach incumbent officials without due process. And you don’t go on electing yourself through an illegal general assembly,” said Antonio “Tony” Pascual, Naflu secretary-general.

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Management has also consistently connived with military units in South Cotabato to hold forums maligning Amado Kadena and KMU as linked with rebel groups.

“With the BLR status quo order, management should maintain its recognition of the Amado Kadena union and stop efforts to bust and sabotage its existence.”

Pascual said the local labor union has been militant in asserting higher wages, security of work, and trade-union rights together with the Dolefil workers. It said the Dolefil management has long been trying to bust the local union because of this.

DoleFil Workers also forward their demands to the new Aquino administration, saying that to uphold workers’ rights to decent wages, job security, and union formation are basic rights long denied under the Arroyo administration.

“Aquino has been very well backed by big business groups in his electoral campaign, and hails from a corporate elite family. It is a big challenge on how he will stand between corporate and workers interests,” Pascual added.

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