Caraga plantation owners’ refusal to bargain despite Pablo hit

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the owners of three palm oil plantations in the Caraga region who continue to refuse bargaining with their striking workers despite the devastation caused by typhoon “Pablo,” saying the capitalists are showing just how greedy they are.

Workers of Agumill, Agusan Plantation, Inc. (API) and Filipinas Palm Oil Plantation, Inc. (FPPI) have all been on strike since Nov. 27 because of deadlocks in negotiations for a Collective Bargaining Agreement caused by plantation owners’ refusal to budge in offering workers meager increases in wages and benefits.

Despite the destruction wrought by typhoon “Pablo” on the workers’ homes, Mr. Chan Lok Lim, CEO of both Agumill and API, and Mr. Dennis Villareal, CEO of FPPI, have refused to resume negotiations with workers.

“While Filipinos and even foreigners are trying hard to help the people of Mindanao who are still suffering from Pablo’s wrath, some capitalists in Caraga continue to think solely of their profits,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“For years, these capitalists amassed huge profits from the labor of their workers. Now that their workers badly need help, they refuse to even negotiate,” he added.

“The continuing workers’ strikes in Caraga show that capitalists and the Aquino government do not pretend to even show some concern for workers,” he said.

Workers of Agumill and API called the managements’ CBA offers, which include maintaining the wage increase that was agreed upon in the previous CBA and increasing wages by a mere P2.00 for 2012, “insulting.”

FPPI workers, on the other hand, are still waiting for the management’s improved offers, after the Labor Department ordered it to do so.

“These capitalists are acting like it’s too much to show some compassion and consider their workers’ plight. Even if they too were badly affected by Pablo, they should at least resume negotiations with their workers,” Soluta said.

“We certainly hope that these labor disputes will be resolved before Christmas and in favor of the workers. Workers deserve to be at home on Christmas and enjoy one of the few seasons that they can rest and be with their families,” he added.

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