appeal to food giants: Don’t deal with sweatshops
August 1, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
Dismissed workers of DBSN Agriventures – a poultry dressing plant in
Albuera, Leyte, that has a production capacity of 65,000 heads per
day and a supplier of food giants San Miguel Foods Corporation and
Jollibee Food Corporation – staged a picket in front of the head
offices of said food conglomerates in Ortigas Center Wednesday to
highlight their sorry plight.
Reputational Risk to SMC and JFC
spokesperson of the DBSN Agriventures Workers Union said, “We appeal
to San Miguel Foods Corporation and Jollibee Food Corporation to
look into the workplace conditions of their contractors,
subcontractors and suppliers, particularly DBSN Agriventures that
supplies their chicken meat requirements”.
DBSN Agriventures is one
of the biggest poultry dressing plants in the country. It was
accredited by the National Meat Inspection Service and certified as
an ISO company by TUV-Rhineland despite its violations to labor
standards. Workers at DBSN Agriventures are paid for P285 per
15-hour shift, which is but the regional minimum wage for workers in
Region 8 for 8-hours of work, without overtime pay and premium among
its many labor standard violation.
DBSN Farm Agriventures
Corporation is owned by Ramon Oñate, Municipal Mayor of Palompon,
“SMC Foods and JFC should
recognize the reputational risks brought by sweatshop labor to their
popular brands. If they want to, both companies, who major industry
leaders, could easily put pressure on their suppliers and
contractors to comply with labor rights and standards before they
could enter into business with them,” she added.
“If not, then we have
every reason to declare that the multi-billion peso empires of San
Miguel Foods and Jollibee Food Corporation were accumulated through
the gross violations to labor standards, severe capitalist abuse and
exploitation, and subhuman working conditions of its contractual
workers,” she explained.
Workers sought DOLE
inspection but was punished by management
Despite working for more
than a year and performing functions directly related to the
principal, the DBSN Agriventures management forced its employees to
sign a contract, under threat of termination, to make them employees
of JBC or Manpower Services, an agency which engages in the
prohibited practice of labor-only-contracting. The said manpower
agency is owned by the daughter of the plant manager.
Upon the inspection of a
labor inspector of DOLE Region 8, DBSN was found guilty of the
following labor standards violations: (1) No proof of
coverage/remittance of SSS, (2) No Service Agreement, (3)
Non-payment of Overtime Premium Pay, (4) Non-payment of Service
Incentives Leave Pay, (5) Non-payment of Holiday Pay, (6) Illegal
deduction (personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and
aprons, and delivery and transport expenses of sold products by
boat), (7) Non-payment of Night Shift Differential Pay, 8.
Non-presentation of D.O 174 Registration Certificate, (8)
Non-payment of 13th Month Pay.
Workers’ Campout in
Intramuros: Desperate Action in Desperate Times
The DBSN workers are
currently holding a camp-out infront of the Intramuros offices of
the labor department. They are demanding their reinstatement as
regular employees and the implementation of labor standards as
defined by the Labor Code. The workers are being assisted by the
militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).
BMP president Luke
Espiritu concluded, “The DBSN workers have travelled by land,
risking life and limb, to hold a campout outside the labor
department. It is a desperate act brought by subhuman conditions.
They are not only up against supplier/contractor that is connected
with the food oligarchs. They are also fighting an employer who is
also provincial warlord with no regard for human rights. Their
plight emphasizes the futility of Executive Order 51, which was
signed by Duterte last Labor Day”.