Nakashin is Responsible for Rights Violations of 75 Retrenched Workers—CTUHR

June 29, 2016

Labor NGO, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights iterates that Japanese company Nakashin Davao International Inc (Nakashin) cannot get its hand off the labor rights violations of its job contractor contrary to what the company claims concerning 75 retrenched workers who held a strike last May 25 which purportedly forced the company to close its operations.

“Nakashin remains responsible  for the 75 illegally retrenched workers even if they are hired through a manpower agency. The labor law clearly says that principal employers have ‘solidary liability’ to the workers for any violation of the labor code,” CTUHR Executive Director Daisy Arago avers.

Talks between the management and the workers have failed as the former refused to recognize its responsibility to regularize the contract employees. In an article published by Business World on June 12,  Managing Director of Nakashin, Mr. Keisuke Nakao, reiterated that workers should go after the manpower agency and not the company for the rights violations committed against them. Mr. Nakao also said that it was because of these labor rights violations that the company decided to replace the manpower agency with a new one.

The change in manpower agency, however, resulted in undue termination of 75 workers who refused to sign a document nullifying their many years of service in the company and a quitclaim for unpaid benefits.

“Nakashin is trying to make it appear that they are the hero here with their decision  not to renew its contract with a manpower agency that violates workers rights. But if Nakashin is really trying to do good for its workers, then why not just directly hire the workers as regular employees when they have served the company, not the manpower agency, for many years? These workers together with their colleagues in the production and not the manpower agencies made sure that Nakashin gained its customers trust, worked hard to make sure that food safety standards are complied with” Arago added.

The 75 dismissed workers have been working in Nakashin between four to nine years. They had witnessed how the company grew from only few workers and reported Php 50Million capital in 2003 to about Php 300M food processing facility in Davao city. From exporting its products solely to Japan, Nakashin International was able to enter the European Union market in span of 5 years operation.

“The situation in Nakashin simply defies logic. The company would rather lose millions (reportedly Php140M)  when it can choose to channel this big amount of resources to better worker compensation, benefits, and secure employment for its workers. Why punish the workers who were cheated and exploited by the manpower agency that were replaced by Nakashin for the very rights violations it has committed against those workers? ” Arago said.

The group also expressed worry that Nakashin’s declaration of shutdown might only be a ploy to divide and vilify the workers at the same time undermine their fight for their rightful benefits and job security. “We have seen this before, company declaring losses, shutting down and then after some time, when the conflict has cooled down, they re-open  again, with a new set workers still deprived of rights,” Arago added.

CTUHR is also looking into bringing the campaign of Nakashin workers internationally, as major markets of the Nakashin are European countries. “As we continue to monitor the case and the company’s next move, we are also calling on parties abroad especially the buyers and consumers of Nakashin to press the company to heed the workers demand for regular employment,” Arago said.

Problem with job contracting

“The practice of contractualization, and a multitude of labor woes that come with it, also stem from fact that the government has legitimized the existence and proliferation of manpower agencies. If the incoming Duterte government really wants to combat contractualization, as it promises, it should definitely prohibit job-contracting which is the legal basis used by manpower agencies and companies for contractualizing many of its workforce,” Arago explained.

The labor rights group also emphasized that Nakashin as well as other companies, cannot skirt, and easily pass on to a third party their responsibility to the workers if job contracting is disallowed.

“It is a challenge upon the incoming Duterte government to live up to its promise to workers to end contractualization by repealing pertinent laws that allow job-contracting,” Arago added.###

Labor rights group alarmed over drug-related killings

July 20, 2016


The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights expresses alarm over the spate of killings of suspected drug pushers both by police personnel and unidentified men saying that the “poor have become easy targets” of the crackdown.

The group reiterated its full support to the Duterte government’s campaign against drugs and criminality as it has witnessed how drugs destroyed families, communities and future of a nation. “As aptly put by a community leader, illegal drugs are nothing like but a ‘weapon of mass destruction’, victimizing primarily the poor and innocent. Indeed, drugs must be eliminated,” Daisy Arago, Executive Director of CTUHR said.

CTUHR also commends the efforts to ask and persuade drug peddlers and users to voluntarily turn themselves in and start anew under a promise of change.  Never in the recent history of this country that such huge numbers admit to distributing and using the illegal drugs, the group said.

“However, we find the series and pattern of killings of alleged drug pushers disturbing and alarming. Not only the killings transgress due process that the President himself promised to uphold, but it is also frightening to see that these killings might  turn into a norm one day, thus further deepening impunity that has plagued this country for decades.

“Since the war against drugs started, the poor have carried the heaviest brunt. Victims of drug-related killings come mostly from the lower end of society, those often wearing tsinelas and living in crowded communities. No arrest of big time drug dealers, their protectors,  drug operators and financiers cashing in on poor’ desperation to earn big and quick has happened. Some names have surfaced and the public is yet to see big people behind bars and face the full force of the law” Arago averred.

As of July 18, media reports noted 183 suspected drug pushers killed in police operations since Duterte took office last June 30. 82 others were killed by unidentified men.

“These killings must be thoroughly investigated and addressed to ensure that the campaign against illegal drugs and criminality does not result in more human rights violations,” Arago added.

The group also reminded that the President had said many times before that criminality and the drug problem are symptoms of pervasive poverty and oppression of the people. “Indeed, the poor have become pawns and fell prey to drug syndicates; they risk selling drugs as their means of livelihood.  When the oppressed lacks or no access to decent jobs, they also become vulnerable to committing crimes in order to survive.

“Without condoning or justifying the crime itself, the Duterte government must be reminded that it is not those tsinelas-wearing drug pushers neither the pickpockets at EDSA that has turned this country into an ironically ‘rich but poverty-stricken nation’, but neo-liberal policies and programs that past administrations have embraced wholeheartedly,”  Arago said.###