Category Archives: Food Workers

Statement of SENTRO F&B on the violent picket dispersal of workers in COCA-COLA FEMSA Philippines

We, the officers and members of the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at mga Progresibong
Manggagawa Food and Beverage Council (SENTRO F&B), together with its various union
affiliates all over the Philippines, condemn in the strongest possible terms the violent dispersal of
a peaceful picket staged, on April 2, 2018, by, more or less, eighty (80) workers of the COCA-
COLA FEMSA Philippines, Inc. to protest their malevolent, oppressive, repressive and arbitrary
dismissal from their respective works, leaving their respective families in economic limbo.

About ten (10) picketing workers, who participated in the picket, were also arrested by police
officers who barged into the workers’ picket lines in blatant violation the joint guidelines issued
by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Interior and Local
Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Justice (DOJ), the
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

The Guidelines mandate, among others, military and police elements to stay fifty (50) meters
away from the picket lines and to exercise utmost neutrality in the prevailing labor feuds
between the workers and the company, and not to unnecessarily disrupt the exercise of the
workers of their constitutional right to peaceably assemble for redress of their grievances. Labor pickets are constitutional tool that the workers can use to balance the power landscape between the workers and owners of capital.

The violent dispersal of the peaceful pickets of the dismissed COCO-COLA workers, and the
consequential arrest of some of them, is a blatant of violation of a constitutional injunction which mandates the state and its instruments, like the military, the police and the city government of Davao, to give full protection to labor, organized and unorganized, being a primary social and economic force.

These high-handed, arrogant and illegal actions of the police, with the imprimatur of Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio, deserve strong condemnations from all well-meaning sections of society, owing to the fact that these dubious actions are perpetrated through the orders of a public official who postures in public to be pro-poor and to be protective of the welfare and interests of the masses.

It is not true, as we are made to believe by government authorities, that the picketing workers are the employees of the Work Experts and Allied Services, Inc., which is notoriously known in
Davao City to be illegally operating as a labor-only contracting agency. The picketing workers,
having been victims of labor-only contracting and as workers who are performing works which
are necessary and desirable to the business or trade of the company are deemed regular workers of this same company, in this case, by COCO-COLA, by operations of law, not with standing existence of a work contract to the contrary (Purefoods vs. NLRC).

The proper thing that Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio should have done, as one who
publicly professes her love for the workers and as the daughter of the President of the Republic
who promised to kill the capitalist who oppressed the workers, was to facilitate the honest-to-
goodness dialogue between COCA-COLA and the hapless workers. On the contrary, however,
City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio showed her real color by ordering the violent dispersal of the
picketing workers, and the arrest of some of them, for the purpose of filing criminal charges
against them.

By her acts, Sarah Duterte-Carpio has proven to the world that she is not different from any other elected officials who are pro-capitalist trapos, but who cleverly hide their true character behind the sterling curtains of their pro-poor rhetoric and cosmetic programs and projects. Good for her!

But the workers’ dream for a humane and dignified life will not die. The fate that befalls them
during this fateful day in Davao City will keep the fire burning in their hearts and minds. It will
serve as the propelling force which will prod them to finally cut the chain that ties them from
poverty and unfreedom for so long a time.

Organise! Fight! Win!

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.