DAVAO CITY — Incoming labor undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said the talks between labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte should continue. This, he said, amidst the statement of Duterte that he would not want to have the KMU’s involvement in resolving the issues of the striking workers of a Japanese-owned fruit company here.
Duterte let out strong statements against the KMU saying the organization “manipulated” the dismissed workers of Nakashin Davao International. He said the strike of the workers last May 25 has put the city in bad light discouraging investors.
Maglunsod, vice president for Mindanao of KMU, said Duterte’s statement “is not true”
“That’s not true. KMU has been consistently serving workers regardless of their religious affiliation,” said Maglunsod, who has been working with KMU for 30 years prior to his appointment in the Cabinet of the Vice Mayor’s father, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
He said that on April 9, the workers approached KMU and asked for their help.
“And it is the mandate of KMU to assist them,” he told reporters Thursday night, June 2.
He said that the workers’ demand is valid because they have been “contractuals for a long period of time.”
The company sacked 75 workers. Some of them have been working for three years, while some of them are with the company for eight years before they refused to sign a quit claim waiver and submit a resignation letter which KMU said would “cut their length of service”.
At 5:00 am on May 25, the workers put up a barricade before the entrance gate of the company paralyzing its operations.
Duterte came to the picket line of the workers on Monday, May 30 KMU said they were dismayed with the behavior of the vice mayor who “nagged against KMU and even at the protesting workers.”
No memorandum of agreement
KMU spokesperson Carlo Olalo said prior to the incident, Duterte has assured them to settle the problem and help the workers by crafting a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
“He said that we will just wait, 6:00 pm Saturday May 28. We waited until Sunday but there was no MOA sent to us by the Vice Mayor,” he said.
Message to Pulong
Asked what his message will be for Duterte, Maglunsod said he hopes the vice mayor would talk to them.
“Mag-usap tayo kasama yung mga manggagawa at representative ng KMU para maayos natin. Huwag na natin itong patagalin (Let’s talk with the workers and representatives of KMU to resolve this. Let us not prolong this anymore),” he said.
Maglunsod said the ball is now on the hands of the employers.
“If they will say that they will reinstate the 75 dismissed workers and that they will agree for the workers regularization then we can sign an agreement immediately,” he said. (With reports from Earl Condeza and Maria Patricia C. Borromeo/davaotoday.com)