Labor group slams Dole Philippines trade-union repression

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno renewed its call for an end to trade-union repression in Dole Philippines amid preparations for a certification elections (CE) in the multinational company’s plantation in Polomolok, South Cotabato.

In a short program in front of Dole Philippines’ headquarters in Ayala Avenue, Makati City, leaders of the labor center condemned the corporation’s continuing harassment and repression of leaders and members of the legitimate and genuine workers’ union in the plantation.

“Dole Philippines and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have done almost everything in the book to repress the workers of Dole. We are calling for an end to Dole Philippines’ repression of the militant workers’ union. We also condemn the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ interference in union affairs and utter disrespect for workers’ trade-union rights,” said Rogelio Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

Last February 2010, officials of the militant workers’ union in Dole Philippines, Amado Kadena-National Federation of Labor Unions-KMU, were “impeached” in an illegal but management-backed “general assembly” and were replaced with officials from UR Dole, a union created and supported by the Dole Philippines management.

Defying orders from the Department of Labor and Employment, the Dole Philippines management recognized UR Dole as the workers’ union and released to the latter workers’ union membership dues. Just last month, the Labor Employees Association of Dole Philippines or LeadPH, a union created by UR Dole leaders, filed for a CE. Now, preparations for a CE are underway.

Since AK-NAFLU-KMU won a landslide victory in a CE in March 2006, its leaders and members have experienced non-stop repression and harassment. Their union has been demonized as a “communist front” in the military’s radio program and seminars and they have received numerous death threats. They have also been the target of punitive moves of the management on the basis of fabricated charges.

“Because of the widespread condemnation of the Dole Philippines management’s takeover of the workers’ union last February 2010, the management and the AFP have become desperate to legitimize the rule of the yellow union. They are continuing, and even intensifying, various forms of repression and harassment against militant unionists to ensure victory for their pet union,” Soluta said.

“We are therefore calling on the workers and peoples of the Philippines and the world to pay close attention to the developments in Dole Philippines and condemn trade-union repression in that company. We are calling for support in fighting this giant multinational’s attacks on its poor and repressed workers,” he added. D’Jay Lazaro

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