There's Blood in Your Coffee

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Strike is the Weapon of the Oppressed, of Men Capable of Appreciating Justice & Having the Courage to Resist Wrong & Contend for Principle.






ILO Committee on Freedom of Association: Introduction Report Re: Complaint Filed by Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center (Philippines)

ILO Committee on Freedom of Association: Introduction to Report 346 (June, 2007)Introduction:

1. The Committee on Freedom of Association, set up by the Governing Body at its 117th Session (November 1951), met at the International Labour Office, Geneva, on 24 and 25 May and 1 June 2007, under the chairmanship of Professor Paul van der Heijden
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Serious and urgent cases which the Committee draws to the special attention of the Governing Body
4. The Committee considers it necessary to draw the special attention of the Governing Body to Cases Nos 2318 (Cambodia), 2489 (Colombia) and 2528 (Philippines) because of the extreme seriousness and urgency of the matters dealt with therein.


ILO Committee on Freedom of Association
Philippines (Case No. 2528)
Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center (KMU)
31-Oct-06

The complainant alleges killings, grave threats, continuous harassment and intimidation and other forms of violence inflicted on leaders, members, organizers, union supporters/labour advocates of trade unions and informal workers' organizations who actively pursue their legitimate demands at the local and national levels.

Report No. 346 (2007)

Background

A. The complainant's allegations
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1369.According to the complainant, nearly all the unions that were able to withstand the above were unions affiliated to KMU or unions which shared a similar progressive and militant orientation with the KMU. This has given the Government a convenient excuse to tag the KMU unions as factory terrorists and communist fronts. Thus, in a speech before newly elected barangay officials in Sta. Cruz, Laguna on 22 September 2002, the President said in part: "Let us fight against criminals, gambling lords, drug lords … and those who terrorize factories that create jobs…". The speech, an obvious reference to militant trade unionism, immediately led to the strikes at Nestlé Philippines, Nissan Motors, a host of companies in Laguna's several economic enclaves being harassed and dispersed violently by the Special Action Forces (RSAF), Philippine National Police (PNP) regulars and private guards.
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1376. A report released by the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), an independent, non-governmental organization documenting and monitoring human rights violations committed against workers and trade unions, concluded that from 2001 to 30 September 2006, there were 410 cases of violations victimizing 30,825 workers. The summit of these violations was the unprecedented rise in the number of trade unionists, organizers, leaders, union supporters and informal workers killed in the last five years in the course of their union activities or in the case of ordinary workers, while they were protesting an illegal dismissal case. Most of these union leaders and organizers belonged to the KMU unions or its regional and provincial chapters and/or Anakpawis Partylist whose main tasks include organizing workers. Prior to their murders, they reported surveillances and threats from suspected military intelligence forces.

1377. Notable cases are: (12) Diosdado Fortuna, president of the Union of Filipro Employees at Nestlé Philippines, who had led the workers' strike since 14 January 2002. He was also the chairperson of PAMANTIK–KMU and chairperson of Anakpawis Partylist in the region. He was shot and killed on 22 September 2005, sustaining two gunshot wounds that pierced his lungs. Prior to his death, he reported constant surveillance since the strike began. He was the second Nestlé union president who was killed during the workers' strike. Meliton Roxas, his predecessor, was killed in front of the picket line in 1989. Fortuna was elected union president a year later.
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1387. In a press conference organized at Camp Vicente Lim on 4 April 2001, the Philippine National Police Region IV Director, Domingo Reyes, admitted that 94 factories with militant unions under the Solidarity of Workers in Southern Tagalog, the Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture (OLALIA–KMU) and the Alliance of Workers in Laguna are under surveillance.Some notable cases of grave threats are the following:
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(c) Harassment and surveillance activities on a number of union leaders and members of the Nestlé Workers' Union in Cabuyao, which included tailing the workers in the strike area, in their activities and in their homes and being threatened with arrest. Among those who have executed their affidavits are Reynaldo B. Batitis, union board member, Roberto L. Berroya Jr, union officer and shop steward, Rene A. Manalo, Ariel G. Legaspi and Noel T. Sanchez. In their affidavits, they attested that these cases of intimidation and harassment were related to their active involvement in the ongoing strike of the Nestlé Philippines' workers.
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1389. The presence and direct intervention of military and police in labour disputes is a growing practice. The presence of elements of Regional Special Action Forces, the PNP Mobile Group and the Special Weapons Action (SWAT) in full battle gear are a common sight in companies in Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon, two of the industrial areas in the country where most of the foreign investors are concentrated. In Nestlé Cabuyao, the military has maintained operations inside the factory from 2002 until the present.


B. The Government's reply.
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1421. With regard to the killings that allegedly involve the military:
...(6) Diosdado Fortuna, president of the union of Filipro Employees at Nestlé Philippines; ..., as well as some 35 additional cases listed by the complainant with regard to alleged killings by the police or military elements without an indication of the motives, the Government notes that a common thread in the allegations about these cases is that the supporting documents are mostly narrations from the KARAPATAN or the International Labor Solidarity Mission Philippines, or other organizations allied to the KMU activist community. They likewise contain narrations that do not constitute sufficient evidence that would stand up in formal or judicial investigations relating to military or police involvement in the killings or of trade union rights violations. To illustrate, KMU's allegations of military linkages, pressures or threats preceding the killings must be established by supporting conclusive evidence, which is not in any way satisfied by the self-serving attachments to the KMU's complaints. In other words, there must be at least some proof of the pertinent allegations. Additionally, these organizations that provided the fact sheets to the KMU's allegations are the same entities that failed to participate in the Melo Commission despite open invitations extended to them. The Government submits that allegations of violations of trade union rights under the Conventions should not be entertained under these circumstances.
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C. The Committee's conclusions
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1452. The Committee notes with deep regret that the Government essentially confirms the complainant's allegation that the Regional Special Action Forces, the Philippine National Police Mobile Group and Special Weapons Action (SWAT) in full battle gear are a common sight in companies in Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon, two of the industrial areas where most of the foreign investors are concentrated. The Committee further notes with regret that the Government does not provide specific answers to the following allegations of the complainant: (i) military presence and operation in the Nestlé Cabuyao factory since 2002;
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1456. The Committee expresses regret at the brevity of the Government information given in reply to the allegations of the complainant which include: ... (iii) harassment and surveillance of a number of union leaders and members of Nestlé Workers Union in Cabuyao;
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The Committee's recommendations

1463. In the light of its foregoing interim conclusions, the Committee invites the Governing Body to approve the following recommendations:

(a) The Committee deplores the gravity of the allegations made in this case and the fact that more than a decade after the filing of the last complaint on similar allegations, inadequate progress has been made by the Government with regard to putting an end to killings, abductions, disappearances and other serious human rights violations which can only reinforce a climate of violence and insecurity and have an extremely damaging effect on the exercise of trade union rights.

(b) The Committee requests the Government to:

(i) keep it informed of the progress of the investigation to be carried out by the special joint fact-finding body concerning the killings of trade union leaders and members and, in particular, steps taken to investigate the murders alleged by the complainant which are listed in Appendix I. The Committee firmly trusts that the investigation and trials will proceed without delay and in full independence, so that all responsible parties may be identified and punished before the competent courts as soon as possible and a climate of impunity be avoided;

(ii) establish an independent judicial inquiry and proceedings before the competent courts as soon as possible with regard to the allegations of abductions and disappearances of trade union leaders and members which are listed in Appendix II with a view to shedding full light onto the relevant facts and circumstances, and to determine where responsibilities lie, punish the guilty parties and prevent the repetition of similar events;

(iii) keep it informed of progress made in this respect.

(c) Noting that the Government is under a responsibility to take all necessary measures to have the guilty parties identified and punished – in particular by ensuring that witnesses, who are crucial for the successful identification and prosecution of suspects, are effectively protected – and to successfully prevent the repetition of human rights violations, the Committee requests the Government to take all necessary measures without delay to ensure full implementation of the recommendations of the Melo Commission with regard to:

(i) the reinforcement of the Witness Protection Program;

(ii) legislation to require police and military forces and other government officials to maintain strict chain-of-command responsibility with respect to extrajudicial killings and other offences committed by personnel under their command, control or authority; and

(iii) orientation and training of the armed forces.


(d) Deeply regretting the involvement of the army and police in ending the strike in the Hacienda Luisita incident which claimed the lives of at least seven trade union leaders and members and led to the injury of 70 others, the Committee requests the Government to take all necessary measures so as to have an independent investigation carried out into this incident, with a view to identifying and punishing those responsible without further delay. It also requests the Government to give adequate instructions to the law enforcement authorities so as to eliminate the danger entailed by the use of excessive violence when controlling demonstrations. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect.

(e) Expressing concern at the prolonged presence of the army inside workplaces which is liable to have an intimidating effect on the workers wishing to engage in trade union activities and to create an atmosphere of mistrust which is hardly conducive to harmonious industrial relations, the Committee requests the Government to take measures, including the issuance of appropriate instructions, to bring to an end prolonged military presence inside workplaces.

(f) The Committee requests the Government to give appropriate instructions so as to ensure that any emergency measures aimed at national security do not prevent in any way the exercise of legitimate trade union rights and activities, including strikes, by all trade unions irrespective of their philosophical or political orientation, in a climate of complete security. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect.

(g) The Committee requests the Government to give specific instructions without delay so as to ensure the strict observance of due process guarantees in the context of any surveillance and interrogation operations by the army and police in a way that guarantees that the rights of workers' organizations can be exercised in a climate that is free from violence, pressure or threats of any kind against the leaders and members of these organizations. The Committee requests to be kept informed in this respect.

(h) The Committee requests the Government to provide its comments in respect of the allegations of harassment and intimidation of trade union leaders and members affiliated to the KMU.

(i) The Committee requests the Government to communicate the texts of any judgements handed down in the cases of Crispin Beltran, long-time KMU leader, as well as five members of the NNFSW who were arrested, and to ensure that all relevant information is gathered in an independent manner so as to shed full light on their situation and the circumstances surrounding their arrest. Should it be determined by the court that they were arrested in relation to their trade union activities, the Committee requests the Government to take the necessary measures to ensure that they are immediately released.


http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_087758.pdf

MINUTES OF THE 299TH SESSION OF THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR OFFICE

Geneva, Friday, 15 June 2007

Fourth item on the agenda

REPORTS OF THE COMMITTEE ON FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
346th Report(GB.299/4/1)

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[The Chairperson of the Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA)]

31. In Case No. 2528, on the Philippines, the Committee deplored that, more than ten years after a similar case was filed, inadequate progress had been made by the Government to stop killings, abductions, disappearances and other serious human rights violations damaging to trade union rights. The Government was requested to provide information on the investigations of the special joint fact-finding body into the killings of trade union leaders; an independent judicial inquiry should be established to investigate the alleged abductions and disappearances of trade unionists. The Government should take all measures needed to implement the recommendations of the Melo Commission with regard to reinforcing the Witness Protection Program; legislation requiring police and military forces and other government officials to maintain strict chain-of-command responsibilities with respect to extrajudicial killings and other offences by persons under their command, control or authority; the orientation and training of the armed forces. The involvement of the army and police in ending the strike in the Hacienda Luisita incident was deeply regrettable, and had caused the deaths of at least seven trade unionists and injury to 70 others. An independent investigation should be arranged, and those responsible punished. The Government should instruct the law enforcement authorities not to use excessive violence when controlling demonstrations.

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[The Employer spokesperson for the Committee]

38. Case No. 2528, on the Philippines, involved the murder of trade union leaders among other serious matters. The Committee urged an independent inquiry to determine whether these killings were a consequence of trade union activities, or part of a wider practice of extrajudicial murders and destabilization. The principle was upheld that national procedures should be respected, notwithstanding international scrutiny and the assistance offered by some nations.

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[The Worker spokesperson for the Committee]

44. Case No. 2528, which concerned the Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center in the Philippines, showed the increasing climate of repression and violence in the country. Since the beginning of 2007, there had been reports of between 70 and 80 murdered trade unionists in the Philippines.

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55. The Governing Body adopted the Committee's recommendations in ... paragraphs 1463 (Case No. 2528: Philippines);...



[We will continue to monitor this case in terms of any of the concrete steps (highlighted in paragraph 1463) that are taken by the Government to comply with the CFA's conclusions and recommendations, as adopted by the ILO Governing Body in June 2007.]

Friday, February 01, 2008

Struggle of Nestle workers (Cabuyao Factory)

video