Philippines: Wyeth workers, supporters fight back against mass lay-off
Members of Wyeth Philippines Progressive Workers’ Union (WPPWU) and their supporters mounted a series of mass protests and other activities to demand the reinstatement of 140 workers who were illegally dismissed by Wyeth-Nestlé Philippines on May 18, 2023 and five other workers who were fired earlier, reported Ang Bayan, official organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines, on June 7, 2023.
The WPPWU fought back with more than 20 picket protests to defend the company jobs of workers and defend the union’s previous gains.
Ang Bayan said that the WPPWU protested on May 30 in front of the Nestlé Cabuyao Factory then headed to Calamba, Laguna for the third hearing of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board of Calabarzon on the “notice of strike” filed by the union. Youth groups, church people, other unions and workers, federations, union centers, migrants and artists joined the mass action to demand the reinstatement of the dismissed workers.
Nestlé is notorious worldwide for violations labor rights. In fact, Nestlé has already killed two union leaders in the country and many others in South America.
The Makabayan Bloc in the Philippine Congress filed House Resolution 1067 on May 31 which called for an investigation into the unfair “cost cutting and restructuring strategy”; used by Nestlé to justify mass layoffs.
Other Nestlé unions in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Lipa gave support and solidarity to the WPPWU. On May 26, these unions wrote to Nestlé demanding the reinstatement of their fellow workers. They urged the company management in Canlubang, Laguna, to implement their touted policy of open communication and dialogue to safeguard the rights of their workers.
Bong Labog, Chairperson of the labor federation Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) said, “We are aware of Nestlé’s reputation as a violator of labor laws, of not honoring agreements and CBAs, of violently breaking strikes, and of killing labor leaders. It earns billions every year, but greed emboldens them to jeopardize the lives of hundreds of workers and their families.”