Thursday, February 17, 2011


For over four years workers at Dole in the Philippines have been struggling against both the agribusiness company and the Filipino state for their right to unionize. They are now calling for an international support campaign to press for their rights. Here's the story and appeal from the online labour solidarity site Labour Start.
Philippines: Dole must respect union rights
Since 2006, the company has been trying to weaken, if not eliminate altogether, the democratically-elected union in Dole Philippines - the Amado Kadena–National Federation of Labor Unions–Kilusang Mayo Uno (AK-NAFLU-KMU). Since 2006, the company has conducted a vilification campaign against the union to quash the legitimate workers’ demands for higher wages, job security and trade union rights. With support from the company, the Philippine military has been conducting anti-union seminars, accusing AK-NAFLU-KMU of being a communist front and urging the union members to withdraw support from KMU. The Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) 27th Infantry Battalion conducted a door-to-door campaign calling for disaffiliation from KMU. Union officers and active members are publicly accused as being "enemies of the state” – a very serious accusation amidst the extra-judicial killings in the country. The Dole management also supported the creation of a new union called UR Dole and on Feb 13, 2007, it conducted a bogus general election and "impeached" the legitimate union officials in a viva voce manner. The management refused to implement two orders from the Department of Labor and Employment ordering a status quo and nullifying the assembly and the "impeachment". It continued to recognize UR Dole and even released union dues to them in a clear effort to cripple the operations of AK-NAFLU-KMU. Several workers have also been fired, suspended, demoted or transferred as a result of their support for AK-NAFLU-KMU. Union president Jose Teruel and other officials have received death threats. Active union members are slapped with fabricated charges or subjected to overly-strict discipline; are threatened with non-renewal of their relatives’ contracts in the labor cooperative; and are being offered early retirement packages in another bid to cut back the union membership.
Please go to this link to send the following letter to the Philippine authorities and to Dole Philippines.

We are alarmed to learn that democratically elected AK-NAFLU-KMU has been the object of a vilification campaign by the Dole Philippines company and Philippine military to undermine the trade union and quash legitimate trade union rights. Reportedly, since 2006, the Philippine military, with support from the company, has been conducting anti-union seminars, accused AK-NAFLU-KMU as being a communist front and urged union members to withdraw support to and disaffiliate from KMU. It has also come to my attention that Dole management is interfering in purely union affairs by openly supporting another trade union in violation of two orders issued by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment. Once a union is elected by its workers, union affairs are managed by the workers and governed by the union constitution and by-laws written and approved of by the workers, and management must not interfere with internal union processes. We are equally alarmed of reports that union president Jose Teruel and other officials have been receiving death threats and that several workers have been retrenched, suspended, demoted or transferred as a result of their support for AK-NAFLU-KMU.

We call on Dole Philippines management to reinstate all workers who have been fired, suspended, demoted or transferred as a result of their active union involvement.

We call on Philippine President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to order the management of Dole Philippines and the Philippine military to immediately stop all forms of harassment and repression to the workers.

We call on the Philippine Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that workers at Dole Philippines enjoy the right to free and fair election slated for Feb 22 of this year, free from interference by the military and without threat or fear of retaliation, whether by the government or company management.

We condemn and oppose the labor and human rights violations being undertaken by the Dole company and the military. We stand in solidarity with the workers of Dole Philippines in demanding an environment free from company and military interference. An injury to one is an injury to all!

We will closely monitor the situation in Dole Philippines to ensure that workers get their legitimate demands.

Thank you.

No comments: