By JUSTIN UMALI
CALAMBA, Laguna – Workers from both NuriAsia Cabuyao Philippines and Peerless Products Manufacturing Corporation (PEPMACO) called for the resignation of Deparment of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 4 Director John Henry Jalbuena, whom they accused of “siding with capitalists.”
In a protest action in front of the DOLE Region 4-A Office in barangay Parian, Calamba, workers of NutriAsia and Pepmaco criticized Jalbuena for his “continual inaction to [their] labor disputes.”
The cases of both NutriAsia and Pepmaco are “in a standstill.” Workers of both companies have been demanding for regularization.
Julius Decoreon, Kilusan ng Abanteng Seksyon ng Anakpawis sa NutriAsia-OLALIA-KMU (KASAPINA-OLALIA-KMU) spokesperson, said that last Sept. 3, NutriAsia management insisted that the striking workers are not their employees.
“They told us they don’t care what happens to us, and pushed to move the dispute between us and our agencies,” Decoreon told Bulatlat.
The situation is similar for Pepmaco workers, with management insisting that the Pepmaco Workers’ Union-NAFLU-KMU (PWU-NAFLU-KMU) is not a legitimate union, and that its members are not Pepmaco employees.
The workers also cited the continuing delays in the case of the 17 NutriAsia workers still in jail for trumped-up charges of arson and robbery, as well as the repeated violent dispersal of the Pepmaco picket line by both police and armed guards.
“Although they are different companies with different forms of struggle, the fact remains that both [NutriAsia and Pepmaco] have committed grave transgressions against their workers,” said Mia Antonio, Liga ng Manggagawa para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay Southern Tagalog (LIGA-ST) spokesperson said.
Intensify boycott campaign
Workers’s groups have also called on the public to support their fight against contractualization by boycotting the products of the two companies.
“Let us all show our solidarity with the workers who are continuing to fight for their rights! Do not support capitalists like [NutriAsia owner Joselito] Campos and [Pepmaco owner Simeon] Tiu who sell products made with the blood of workers!” Antonio added.
NutriAsia is the maker of Datu Puti, UFC, Papa, Silverswan, Golden Fiesta cooking oil, among others. Pepmaco, meanwhile, manufactures Champion laundry detergent, Hana shampoo, Calla fabric conditioner and Systema toothpaste.
The NutriAsia strike, which began July 6, was violently dispersed with a bulldozer after less than six hours, while the Pepmaco picket line has repeatedly dispersed since their strike began on June 24.