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Nestle's Union-busting Intensifies in the Philippines: Mass retrenchment of sales force violates law, targets union officers

On 16 February, Nestle escalated its union-busting drive in the Philippines by declaring all sales force workers redundant, targeting union officers and shop stewards in the Union of Nestle Employees (UNE- Makati) and the Union of Nestle Philippines Employees Sales and Offices (UNPESO), both members of the IUF-affiliated Council of Filipino Nestle Unions (CFNU).

Management set February 23 as the deadline for agreeing to the redundancy package - only 5 days after the shock announcement. To pressure union members into accepting redundancy, management declared that anyone who signs within five days of the announcement would get 2.5%, while anyone after the deadline would get the standard 1.5% package.

Management did not give formal notice to the workers according to the Labor Code before the implementation of the redundancy, which requires 1 month notice. The law also requires that management have a dialogue or meeting with the union, but this did not happen.

In addition to these violations of the Labor Code, the management took an aggressive stance against those made redundant to force them out of the workplace. Automatically all the workers on the list of proposed redundancies were not authorized to go inside the premises of the company effective February 16, 2006 - the same day that the redundancy notices were issued.

In the Union of Nestle Philippines Employees Sales and Offices (UNPESO) redundancy notices were given to 13 union members and 8 union officers - including the union president, Jose Mari dela Fuente, who is also Auditor of CFNU.

In the Union of Nestle Employees (Makati), redundancy notices were issued to 9 union members, 5 union officers - including the union president, Angel Malabanan, who is also vice president of CFNU - as well as 2 union Board Members and 2 Shop Stewards. (Earlier in the year manage transferred more than 50 members of UNE to so-called "specialist" positions that involved no change in their work, but excluded them from union membership.)

CFNU has denounced the redundancies as blatant union-busting.

Report by Danny Fuentes, : ncchug_philippines@yahoo.com