DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A local labor union of a banana-export plantation run by Sumifru Philippines Corp. in Compostela Valley sought the support of the Japanese consumers to boycott the company’s banana brand.
The labor union has lodged complaints against Sumifru’s unfair labor practices and rights violations against its workers.
Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (Namasufa) president Paul John Dizon told Davao Today that they arrived in Japan this week to gather support in their campaign against Sumifru, which is affiliated with Sumitomo Corp, a major Japanese trading company.
“We will go to different areas in Japan to call on the people to boycott Sumifru until it will resolve our labor dispute back in the Philippines,” Dizon said
They claimed that the company continue to ignore the demand of around 900 workers, who were laid off following their strike held in October last year.
“Until now, the company refused to comply with an order coming from the labor department to reinstate us to our respective jobs,” Dizon said, referring to the National Labor Relations Commission’s decision on April 12 this year.
In Compostela province, Sumifru operates around 2,200 hectares of banana plantations, with a production capacity of about 19,000 boxes per day. It is reported to make up roughly one-third of bananas imported to Japan.
Dizon, together with Jamila Seno, group’s board of director recently attended in a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, where they spoke of Sumifru’s failure to regularize its banana workers, some have served for more than a decade.
They also cited the “attacks” against the union, such as the violent dispersal during their strike that left several wounded, and the killing to some of the union members.
“The company cares more about the bananas than the workers,” Seno quoted saying during the press conference in Japan, also pointing out Sumifru’s non-compliance to occupational health and safety standards. They complained that workers are not provided with personal protective equipment, thus exposed to harsh chemicals used on the bananas.
While in Japan, Dizon said they will also stage protest, together with other groups, to expose the Japanese company’s violation against Filipino workers. (davaotoday.com)