Category Archives: Food Workers

Time is up: The buck stops now with the President on the issue of endo

NAGKAISA! Labor Coalition
28 February 2018

Contractualization was a top billing issue during the 2016 presidential election. And it was the President who made a campaign promise that the moment he becomes the Chief Executive, contractualization will stop. The trade union movement responded with enthusiasm and accorded the President the courtesy and latitude of managing his plans by participating in all the summits, workshops, and dialogues organized by the government on this issue.

Several times he asked leaders of Nagkaisa labor coalition that he be given more time to realize his pledge – the first was on February 27, 2017; then on May 1, 2017; and the last was on February 7, 2018 where he asked for another extension until March 15. On these occasions, President Duterte would always say that contractualization is anti-labor and anti poor as it brings in hardship and poverty upon millions of our workers.

Furthermore, it was also the President who asked Nagkaisa leaders during the Labor Day dialogue held in Davao last year to draft within 10 days an Executive Order (EO) that he can sign to correct the labor-rejected Department Order 174 issued by the Department of Labor and Empoyment (DOLE) in March last year and to rectify the more than two decades of failed framework of regulation. Nagkaisa religiously complied with all these processes and waited for the final response of the President.

Now, a few days before his self-imposed deadline and the President is no longer asking for time and more drafts but for a compromise. The buck stops now with President Duterte. The labor-drafted EO which seeks to bring back direct hiring and institutionalize prohibition as the general rule on contractualization but recognizes that there are types of jobs that can be contracted out as along as it passes through consultation with the National Tripartite and Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) is the fairest middle ground or “compromise” that labor can take. A watered-down version of an EO is unacceptable.


Strike Looms in Coca-Cola as company threatens destruction of jobs

Photo by Jun Santos

Today, at least a hundred workers belonging to various unions working together under the banner of the Coalition of All Coca-Cola Workers’ Unions and their allies, swooped down on the headquarters of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Incorporated (CCFPI) at Netlima in Bonifacio Global City, to once again protest the company’s plan to destroy more than 600 regular jobs, including union leaders, many of whom are young workers.

“Coca-Cola claims to be the No. 1 soft drinks company in the country, and yet, by busting the union, Coca-Cola is acting like the worst corporate thug,” the coalition said in its statement. “We have no recourse but to take strike action,” the coalition said.

In an overwhelming fashion, workers in TRCI voted last 23 February 2018 to go on strike. Meanwhile, most of the sales force unions have filed their respective Notices of Strike.

Twenty-three of those to be laid-off are union leaders, including four union presidents.  CCFPI claims that the lay-offs are being done to develop its new business model in order to conform to the challenges in the industry and the larger economic environment.

The CCFPI management and the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions (FCCU-SENTRO/IUF) had an agreement which requires the management to hold discussions with the union on labor relations issues, including violations of international guidelines for industrial and labor relations like the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The restructuring and mass lay-off on are outright violations of the above. This is outright, unabashed union busting. The lay-offs are nothing but CCFPI destroying jobs and people’s lives.

The CCFPI management uses the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) as a façade for their union busting. The workers and their families are not gullible to accept such elementary reasoning and alibi.

The Coalition of All Coca-Cola Workers’ Unions calls on the DOLE to hold the CCFPI management accountable for their callous decision to destroy their workers’ jobs. The Coalition also demands for the CFFPI management to present concrete evidence for the need to restructure and let workers be consulted in any action related to this. The Coalition also demands a joint agreement with the management that will assure them that there will be no restructuring without negotiation with our unions.

Oppose Coke’s blatant disregard for workers’ rights! 

No to Contractualization!

Stand with the Coalition of All Coca-Cola Workers’ Unions!

NCR fast-food workers lose P1,000 a month from daily ‘free work’


Respect Fast Food Workers’ Rights activists in one of its campaigns last April 15, 2015


MORE THAN P1,000 every month are “counted out” – called “wage theft” – from the already low salary of every McDonald’s crew in Metro Manila through an unwritten but rampant practice in the entire fast-food industry, where workers provide additional but unpaid work in their workplaces for a certain period of time every day.

Based on a series of surveys starting in 2013 that focused on the working conditions in key McDonald’s branches in the National Capital Region (NCR), this and other findings on the plight of the mostly young fast food workers were highlighted by the youth group APL-Youth-SENTRO in today’s celebrations of the International Youth Day (IYD).

This paper – part of the APL-Youth-SENTRO’s Respect Fast Food Workers’ Rights campaign – was also discussed in four pre-IYD forums attended by school- and community-based youth organizations in the NCR last month and early this month, and was presented in the International Fast Food Workers’ Conference on June 6-8 in Detroit, Michigan.

Called “turnover work” in McDonald’s restaurants, “charity work” in Jollibee outlets and nameless in other fast-food joints, this “cost-saving” and profit-increasing scheme is defined as an extra work “a fast food crew needs to accomplish after her/his normal shift.”

This “free work,” which could also occur before the start of the employees’ official work schedule, includes washing the dishes or wiping the eating and cooking utensils for those assigned in the kitchen; accounting of the day’s sales for cashiers; cleaning the rest rooms and mopping the floors; collecting and disposing the trash.

Surveyed were McDonald’s crews in branches inside and outside shopping malls, most of them were working in 24-hour outlets and most were directly operated by the Golden Arches Development Corp. (GADC), the Philippine franchisee of the US-based McDonald’s, which is in turn the world’s largest fast-food chain.

Among the main results are:

• The average daily turnover work is 41.46 minutes.

• Length of turnover work does not vary (statistically) whether or not a branch is in a mall, if it operates 24 hours a day or not, or if it is run by GADC or by an independent franchisee. This implies that turnover work is indeed a widespread practice.

• Based on an average of a 6-hour workday (McDonald’s is also notorious for having no fixed shift, especially the number of working hours in a day), turnover work constitutes 10.33 percent of the work of the crews.

• Based on the P466 minimum wage in NCR (during the survey), the average daily turnover work – or “foregone wage” – amounted to P40.25 or P1,006.23 per month or P12,074.74 per year. Thus, a branch employing 60 workers could realize a “savings” of P724,484.38 every year.

• The said figures will further increase if the current P481 daily minimum wage in the NCR is used. Thus, the wage lost per worker will be: P41.55 per day; P1,246.39 per month; and P14,956.70 per year. Likewise, the annual “savings” (or additional profits) per branch with 60 crews will reach to P897,401.70.

Taking cue from the survey result, the APL-Youth-SENTRO dubbed its street play held to celebrate today’s 15th IYD as “Quarenta y Uno” in reference to the more than 41 minutes of turnover work of each fast-food worker, majority of whom are in their teens or are young adults.

This year’s IYD will focus on the issue of wage theft – perpetrated by a company through the work rendered for free for the fast-food joints by their workers – in the highly profitable fast-food industry.

McDonald’s mascot, Ronald McDonald’s, will be symbolically tried in the street play for the “crimes” of wage theft, low wages and scarce benefits, contractualization and union-busting, the APL-Youth-SENTRO, said. A concert in the evening will follow at the Marikina Freedom Park, where guest singers, bands and other artists will perform to hundreds of youth activists.

APL-Youth-SENTRO affiliates in the provinces will also stage pickets, rallies and street plays, including those in Davao, General Santos and Batangas.

McDonald’s pioneered the widespread use and abuse of contractual labor in the multibillion-dollar global fast food industry – setting off today’s familiar hiring of mostly youthful workers with low wages, scarce benefits and no security of tenure, or derisively called “McJobs.” It also became infamous for its almost fanatical resistance to trade unions.

McDonald’s notorious anti-worker and anti-union practices are widely imitated in the fast food industry, especially by other fast food transnational corporations like Burger King, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, KFC and many others, which all operate also in the Philippines.

The said practices are likewise followed by the local fast food firms, including the industry leader Jollibee, which is infamous too for its low pays and routine use of “endo” or “end-of-contract” workers with short-term and precarious work arrangements and also called “5-5-5” scheme where workers are endlessly hired and fired every five months to prevent them from becoming permanent or regular workers.


Delivery workers’ plight: One of many vulnerabilities of fast food workers

WHAT happened to the hapless Jollibee rider who was tricked by someone who made it appear that the food delivery was late – to avail of the P200 gift certificate and pay only a small amount to cover the balance in the bill – shows how vulnerable the fast food workers are, but not so much from callous customers but from the many anti-worker practices in the fast food industry.

This was stressed by the Respect the Fast Food Workers Alliance (RESPECT!) following that incident that was revealed and boasted by the culprit himself on Facebook under the name of “Jay Bee,” which became viral and earned the ire of the netizens.

One main concern of those who took pity on the rider was that the gift certificate (GC) will be deducted from his salary, which RESPECT described as an added burden for him amid the serious and widespread problems of “cheap wage and contractualization” and other related policies in the fast food industry.

While Jollibee issued a statement denying that the GCs are charged against the riders’ salaries, RESPECT has documented cases where riders from several Jollibee branches, mostly in Quezon City, have been subjected to salary deductions or “on-the-spot payment” of GCs for failure to deliver on time the food ordered by customers – even because of unavoidable circumstances like heavy traffic and bad weather.

RESPECT observed that the other common denominator for these riders is almost all are non-regular workers and were hired through employment agencies, which reflect the rampant “use and abuse” of contractual labor who are easily terminated from work or with no security of tenure, have lower wages and benefits, and not allowed to join a union.

However, RESPECT noted that these problems are not exclusive to the riders and to Jollibee but also affect the vast majority of fast food workers, majority are in their youth, who suffer from the indiscriminate “endo” (end of contract) or precarious jobs, “charity work” or free work rendered by the workers from 30 minutes to 2 hours a day, zero hour contracts, among others.

These anti-worker and anti-union practices, whether official or unofficial, have one underlying capitalist goal: to amass greater profits and thus referred to by RESPECT and the trade unions as “wage theft” – or the fruits of labor that are “stolen” from the workers.

RESPECT is a member of the national labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) and the Geneva-based IUF or the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations.

Citra Mina under intensifying global scrutiny!


Citra Mina workers on Labor Day in General Santos City May 1, 2015

Manila – The IUF Asia Pacific, the regional organization of the food workers’ international, today announced that one of the biggest fisheries companies in Japan that also imports tuna from General Santos has launched an investigation into the human rights violations of Citra Mina.

This does not auger well for the tuna industry in General Santos City. It becomes critical for the industry stakeholders that workers’ rights are upheld.

This development comes at a time that the Director General of Trade of the European Commission is also sending a trade delegation to the Philippines from 29 June to 3 July 2015 to monitor the country’s implementation of its commitments under the EU GSP Plus programme. The delegation is set to visit General Santos City and to meet with SENTRO, one of IUF’s affiliates in the Philippines that has been helping Citra Mina workers fight for their rights.

The Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission is in charge of implementing the common trade policy of the European Union.

“The potential damage to the reputation of the tuna industry in the Philippines must not be underestimated”, Dr. Hidayat Greenfield, regional Secretary of the IUF Asia Pacific said. “All this because Citra Mina will not reinstate workers unfairly dismissed for forming a union. It is a very big mistake that could cost the tuna industry of General Santos and ultimately the people of General Santos,” he added.

“What we need is for Citra Mina to do the right thing by reinstating the workers and recognize the union. That would set us on a firm course for a sustainable tuna industry that restores the reputation of General Santos. ” Dr. Greenfield said.

Citra Mina is the 2nd largest seafood exporter in the Philippines. It has been under increasing pressure after the IUF launched a global campaign last June 2014 in support of the call for justice for the workers of Citra Mina. The workers are being organized by SENTRO.