By RONALYN V. OLEA
“Good morning sa inyo! Sweet and mild ang kasama ko…” sings the young woman in the commercial of Nescafe’s new coffee mix. But Nestlé, maker of Nescafe, has deprived good mornings to the children of Nestlé workers who have stopped schooling since the start of the strike in January 2002.
According to Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), workers launched the strike when the giant multinational company refused to implement a Supreme Court ruling in 1991, which states that workers’ retirement benefits should be covered by negotiations for a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Nestle Philippines has shown no sweetness when it implemented layoffs in reaction to the strike and filed criminal charges against 250 workers.
In 2008, the high court affirmed its earlier ruling, ordering Nestle to resume the negotiations. Until now, Nestle Philippines has been acting like a god as it continues to ignore the SC decision.
In the last ten years, meanwhile, 48 workers have already died.
There is definitely no mildness when union president Diosdado “Ka Fort” Fortuna was gunned down by two unidentified men riding a motorcycle on September 22, 2005. Is it a mere coincidence that there is an ongoing labor dispute at the time of his death?
Fortuna is the second president of the Nestle workers’ union to be murdered. In 1989, the workers also launched a strike and the management allegedly sent hired goods to kill union leader, Meliton Roxas, according to Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR).
Sadly, these incidents have not been reported by the dominant media. The reason is simple. The multinational corporation is a big advertiser in both broadcast and print media.
I have been boycotting Nestle for the last ten years. I have found good alternatives to all of their products, some even better.
I would like to believe that the boycott campaign has hurt the giant company, even just a pinch. Five-hundred-peso less from their monthly sales of coffee, milk, chocolates, etc. is still a loss from their huge profits.
Next time you see their advertisements, don’t be blinded, no matter how good they seem. Nestlé’s “Good Food, Good Life” is nothing but a lie. Join the boycott campaign. Do it not only for Diosdado Fortuna, for ordinary workers and their families, but also in the name of social justice and against corporate greed.