Published: 29/07/2017
In a legal process lasting two decades, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has upheld a 2010 lower court ruling holding Citra Mina responsible for labour rights violations on outsourced fishing vessels.

In 1997, 32 workers took the company to court following their termination without compensation. The workers had been hired as crew members for a fishing vessel owned by Mommy Gina Tuna Resources, the mother company in the Citra Mina Group, in 1994-1996. They were terminated in 1997. Jake Lu, the owner of both MGTR and Citra Mina,  declared that no compensation was owed because the workers were not employees of his companies – they had having been employed through a middleman.

In October 2010, the Court of Appeal ruled that Jake Lu could not deny responsibility, since all the workers had been hired to work exclusively for MGTR and the company had exercised full control over the vessel. The company was ordered to pay the workers compensation for the termination of their contracts and back wages in full (including allowances and other benefits) from August 18, 1997, the date their contracts were terminated.

Jake Lu appealed to the Supreme Court which examined the case and in Mrch 2017 issued a final verdict reiterating the conclusions of the Court of Appeal. The struggle continues for justice for all Citra Mina workers in General Santos whose rights have been violated.