COMPOSTELA VALLEY, Philippines — Around 500 workers of the Japanese banana firm Sumitomo Fruits Corporation (Sumifru) awaited outside their plant at Barangay San Jose, Compostela, Compostela Valley province on Tuesday, expecting they will return to work after a year-long struggle for their reinstatement.
The management, however, refused to comply with the order from the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to reinstate the 600 unionized workers it terminated last year.
The workers union leader, Eliazar Diayon, vice chairperson of Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (Namasufa), said
they were poised to go back to work as a writ of execution issued by the NLRC Eight Division ordered that all union members are to be reinstated to work.
But Diayon told Davao Today that representatives of the Sumifru management announced during a conference facilitated by Sheriff Dexter Burlaza at the Sumifru Office in Upper Siocon that the company still has a pending motion to quash the labor department’s order.
For Diayon, the writ of execution to reinstate them is already a legal victory for the workers, yet they are still waiting when the management will comply to have them go back to their jobs.
The Namasufa has launched a long campaign since 2017 to demand the Sumifru company to negotiate with them for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement despite securing court decisions recognizing them as the sole legal union to negotiate with the company.
The company’s refusal led to a strike last year that was violently dispersed and workers terminated.
Union leaders traveled to Manila and staged a camp out at the national office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Liwasang Bonifacio for months.
After securing legal victory, Diayon urged the DOLE and NLRC to fully implement the order of reinstatement despite Sumifru’s defiance.
“The Sheriff from NLRC said during the conference that starting today, the company shall pay the workers of their daily wage because the order is already supposed to be implemented,” Diayon bared.
He added that the union will continue to demand from Sumifru management to regularize its workers, and to have negotiations for a CBA.
“That is the primary demand of the workers,” Diayon said. “If we would go back to our jobs even with the company’s refusal to recognize us, our rights as workers such as living wages and benefits would still be violated.” (davaotoday.com)