MANILA, Philippines – Senate labor committee chair Joel Villanueva sought an investigation into the issues involving employees of PLDT, NutriAsia, and other companies known to engage in illegal contracting. (READ: Jollibee, Dole, PLDT among top companies 'engaged' in illegal contracting)
Villanueva filed Senate Resolution 810 on Tuesday, July 31, seeking to look into NutriAsia’s practice of labor-only contracting. It also seeks to probe PLDT’s alleged non-implementation of the Department of Labor and Employment’s executory order to regularize 7,309 contractual workers and pay P51.8 million to 1,074 of its workers. (READ: PLDT denies defying DOLE order to regularize 7,300 workers)
He said the inquiry is aimed at “addressing the gaps in the law on enforcement and compliance” as these facilitate "discord and violence similar to situations of the PLDT and Nutri-Asia workers.” (LOOK: Why NutriAsia workers are on strike)
"PLDT and NutriAsia are the more prominent cases on enforcement and compliance issues, and there are more cases of similar nature all over the country. We need to investigate because these cases highlight the weaknesses of our current regulatory framework. They emphasize the need for the Security of Tenure bill that we are going to deliberate in the Senate floor in the coming weeks," Villanueva said.
On Monday, NutriAsia guards and police violently dispersed workers of the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng NutriAsia Incorporated during a mass held by the picketers outside the factory in Marilao, Bulacan.
The workers have been on strike for 12 days to protest the company’s labor-only contracting, low wages, and poor working conditions. They also called for the reinstatement of dismissed union leaders. DOLE earlier ordered NutriAsia to regularize 80 of its workers.
“It is regrettable that the NutriAsia case rooted on contractualization and its abuses has to drag and result in termination of workers, violent dispersals of picket lines, injuries and arrests of workers. It would serve the best interests of labor and capital to resolve this dispute peacefully and expeditiously,” Villanueva said.
Militant group Anakbayan said at least 19 were arrested after the dispersal – 8 NutriAsia workers, 6 supporters, and 5 journalists. Two of those arrested are UP students, according to the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND UP).
A number of social media user have revived calls to stop buying NutriAsia products, with the hashtag #BoycottNutriasia along with photos of condiments dunked into the trash can. NutriAsia is the country's largest condiments company. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org