No ketchup were used for fake blood and gory looks. An elderly woman was bleeding in the mouth after she was beaten by security personnel. Young people were mauled and charged with fabricated evidence. No chill.
A couple of months since a June 2nd strike in a NutriAsia plant in Marilao, Bulacan, northern Philippines stirred up, violence erupted at various times when the repressive PNP (Philippine National Police) forces disperse workers and supporters resulting into scores of injuries and arrests. The workers were asserting their legitimate rights in the face of the company’s illegal practice of labor-only contracting, anomalous pay cuts and abusive work conditions, all under its union busting scheme.
Top executives roll on their gravy train with no signs to regularize workers, who they claim were not their workers but of its hired contractor B-Mirk Enterprise. The truth is, they can afford to treat workers better but just refuses to. NutriAsia, which manufactures popular condiments, has recorded at least 16.8 billion pesos in total assets (amounting to CAN$420 million). It owns the brands UFC Ketchup, Mang Tomas All-Purpose Sauce, and Datu Puti vinegar and soy sauce, and Golden Fiesta cooking oil, among others. Its honcho, Joseplito Campos Jr. also owns Del Monte Pacific Limited, making him the Philippine condiments magnate.
When protesters are violently dispersed, that is a decision made by a corporation like NutriAsia, using private security forces with the protection of a government that sides with oligarchs and big business, to discredit the workers’ rights.
The eventual release of the 19 strikers and supporters, many of whom are youth still under investigation due to the fantastical accusations by the PNP, is not an act of kindness by the state. It is a testament of organized masses’ strength through collective action. It is just, if not for a tyrannical President whose drive is to impose fascist dictatorial rule. NutriAsia management, its security personnel, and the PNP are not cleared of any liability for the brutality and subsequent aggravation they inflicted. There should, and will, be consequences.
The courageous fight of NutriAsia workers for decent work is our fight! We call on the youth to unite with the workers, along with the growing strike movement against contractualization in the Philippines. We also call on the public to boycott products sold and profited (from) by a company that is violating workers’ rights.
Anakbayan-Canada supports immediate demands for decent wages and working conditions, for security of tenure and for the abolition of contractualization across the country. Anakbayan-Canada recognizes the case of NutriAsia is by no means an isolated labor issue. Thus, Filipino youth in Canada echo that to solve our country’s current economic woes, meaningful socioeconomic reforms, such as national industrialization and genuine agrarian reform, must be achieved.
Regularize all NutriAsia workers!
Bring back dismissed union leaders!
End state fascism!