DAVAO CITY , Philippines — Banana plantation workers of Japanese giant Sumitomo Fruit Corp. (Sumifru) in Compostela Valley province are planning to mount a strike after the firm refused to enter into a new collective bargaining agreement.
Elizar Diayon, spokesperson of Banana Industry Growers and Workers Against Sumifru (Bigwas), said the strike is now imminent as Sumifru won’t heed their demands for regularization of plantation workers.
“Almost one thousand banana plantation workers are affected by Sumifru’s continuous refusal to recognize our legitimate demand for regularization,” Diayon said. “We will not be cowed with their offensive attacks against us.”
Sumifru and labor union Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (NAMAFUSA-NAFLU-KMU) sat down for collective bargaining negotiations in two separate conciliation hearings facilitated by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) Region 11.
The first conciliatory meeting was held on September 7 and the second hearing was slated today, September 12.
“We are not expecting that Sumifru would regularize all the banana plantation workers. Whatever decisions they [Sumifru] would come up with, the workers’ strike will continue,” he stressed. “Workers are pressing Sumifru to regularize them and provide their benefits in a new collective bargaining agreement.”
On Monday, 749 worker-members of Namafusa-Naflu-KMU from packing plants PP115, PP340, PP92, PP90, PP98, PP99, PP370 voted unanimously in favor of a strike as Sumifru refuses to recognize them as regular employees and bargain collectively. Two workers voted against the strike while the other two workers abstained.
“The vote’s success shows the determination of these workers in pushing the demand for regularization,” Diayon said, adding that Namafusa had filed a strike notice in the NCMB Region 11 on September 4.
Davao Today has attempted to reach Sumifru for comment but it has yet to issue a statement regarding the issue as of posting.(davaotoday.com)