Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) wishes to convey its highest militant salute to the Nestlé workers marking their 9th year of strike this January 14, 2011.
There is no straight and easy path in establishing reason, rights, and justice. Since the capitalists and state will not grant these by themselves, resolute commitment and untiring struggle bound the Nestlé workers and their families in the 9-year strike which is now considered one of the long-running active strikes in the region’s trade union history.
We also pay high respect to the martyred Nestlé union president Diosdado “Ka Fort” Fortuna and 42 unyielding Nestlé workers who died in the course of the struggle.
The more than 200 remaining striking workers deserve recognition for their uncompromising stance and defence for the genuine, militant, and anti-imperialist unionism.
The workers were pushed to strike on 2002 when the management excluded the item of Retirement Benefits and used it as pre-condition in the collective bargaining negotiation. The Retirement Benefits, however, was a hard-won issue during their first strike in 1989. The Supreme Court resolved in its decision in 1991 that the Retirement Benefits is a valid CBA item. The Supreme Court again reaffirmed on August 22, 2006 its earlier decision.
The Nestlé management used all means just so its workers would not benefit from the rule of law. Nestlé, in fact, outrightly violates the Supreme Court decisions. It intends and behaves to stand above the law.
Using its influences in the different government agencies, courts, and the mercenary police and military, foreign monopoly capitalist Nestlé suppressed the workers’ strike. Scores of workers, families, and supporters were hurt in the series of dispersals and harassments. Hundreds were slapped with trumped-up charges to cripple the workers’ will to fight.
In the event of the centennial celebration of its business presence in the Philippines this coming March 2011, no amount of ads promotion and commercial blitz shall wipe off Nestlé’s blood debts to the Filipino working class. ###