“In all the years that Monde Nissin operated and exploited workers, we were the only ones to launch a strike, and we did it twice.”
By JUSTIN UMALI
SANTA ROSA, LAGUNA – Monde Nissin Philippines workers ended their strike at 7:30 p.m. August 27, roughly 15 hours after they began their lockout of the factory.
Officials from the Monde Nissin Labor Association – LIGA (MNLA-LIGA), Labor Department’s National Conciliation and Mediation Board, Monde Nissin management, and the local government of Sta. Rosa reached an agreement in negotiations.
The 176 workers who were dismissed would not be reinstated, but each of them would be given separation pay — P100,00 (US $1,907) and one month’s wages for every year of service for those under the Sevenel agency, and P125,000 ($2,834) for workers under the LF agency.
Talking to the workers on strike, Luis Dela Cruz, MNLA-LIGA president, said it was “still a victory.”
“In all the years that Monde Nissin operated and exploited workers, we were the only ones to launch a strike, and we did it twice,” Dela Cruz said. “It was us, contractual workers, who forced Monde Nissin to give in to our demands. None of us should go home feeling defeated. We have asserted our rights as workers, we will continue to assert them for as long as we can.”
In an interview with Bulatlat, Dela Cruz said that the decision to settle was a decision of the majority. “If my fellow workers decided to fight, I would’ve walked away from that negotiation in an instant,” he said.
Of the 136 Monde Nissin workers who participated in the strike, only seven expressed willingness to continue the strike.
Dela Cruz said the MNLA-LIGA faced a lot of odds. “Monde Nissin doesn’t recognize us as the legal union, and DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment] doesn’t recognize our agencies as engaging in labor-only contracting,” he said. “Even [Sta. Rosa Mayor] Arlene [Arcillas] said that there was nothing she could do.”
Mia Antonio, chairperson of Liga ng Manggagawa para sa Regularisasyon (LIGA) – Southern Tagalog, considered the workers’ fight as partial victory. “MNLA managed to successfully challenge and assert their rights as workers,” she said. “This is not a defeat. They will continue the struggle, for as long as workers are exploited, they will continue to fight back.”
[Editor’s note: Updated Aug. 28, 4:57 p.m. to reflect corrections made. Labor leader’s surname is Dela Cruz, not Dela Paz and National Conciliation and Mediation Board, instead of National Labor Relations Commission. Apologies for the mistakes.]