Working Class: Top Places Around the Metro Millennials Can Visit After Class

Classes have just resumed in most schools in the country while other students, due to the academic calendar shift, are currently enjoying their rainy “summer break”. For most students, after class sessions are best enjoyed with classmates and friends through “pag-tambay” at empty classrooms, school organization offices, canteens, malls, coffee shops, fast food restaurants, parks and what have you.

Behind every product and service we consume and utilize are workers suffering daily under unjust and inhumane conditions. In these ever trying times for Filipinos, workers have waged their struggles for regularization, living wages, and safe working conditions.

Behind every product and service we consume and utilize are workers suffering daily under unjust and inhumane conditions.

Among Duterte’s many promises to the Filipinos is putting an end to contractualization. To comply with the president’s marching order, the Department of Labor and Employment released DOLE Department Order No. 174, a recycled version of the Department Order No. 16 that holds no significant change in eradicating contractualization. Frustrated with D.O. 174, various labor groups from various colors and beliefs marched towards Malacañang Palace as one under the alliance NAGKAISA to pressure the Duterte regime to put an end to contractualization in one fell swoop. In his attempt to curb the growing discontent of the Filipino workers, Duterte signed Executive Order 51 which in essence only legalizes contractualization in the country.

Not only did Duterte fail in his promise to end contractualization, he also jeopardized the lives of the workers as well. To show that the regime is “serious” in its campaign to end contractualization, DOLE released decisions ordering numerous corporations to regularize thousands of workers without having any mechanism to protect the workers from mass layoff and harassment.

In this new wave of resistance in the labor movement, workers have been staging strikes and camp-outs left and right. Each factory or workplace holds different stories but shares the common goal of breaking the chains of oppression. The resurgence of the labor movement signifies the deepening crisis under the unjust society at one end and stands as a spark of hope for the toiling masses at the other.

Time and again, the youth are told that there is a bigger world beyond the four corners of their classrooms.

Time and again, the youth are told that there is a bigger world beyond the four corners of their classrooms. Listed below are highly-recommended workplaces in and around Metro Manila where millennials can hang out and learn from the living experience of the workers who are fervently fighting the attack on the labor sector for the sake of changing it so that the youth will not have to endure the same conditions that they have experienced.

Uni-Pak Sardines

 

 

Uni-Pak Sardines is proudly endorsed by no less than Kris Aquino, who says that what she likes most about Uni-Pak sardines is that 85% of its workforce are women and that is women empowerment for her. The haciendera’s statement was easily shot down by the women workers of Uni-Pak sardines when they staged a “Kampuhan ng mga Kontraktwal” at the gates of the Navotas Fish Port Complex. From being silent and docile workers working under oppressive and feudal conditions, these women workers showed that women empowerment is when they are in the frontline of the workers’ struggles. Their all-female contractual workers’ campout was the first to be established in Metro Manila after a long period of time.

From being silent and docile workers working under oppressive and feudal conditions, these women workers showed that women empowerment is when they are in the frontline of the workers’ struggles.

The workers staged the campout as one of the high forms of resistance after Slord Development Corporation, the manufacturer of Uni-Pak sardines, illegally terminated 44 workers last May 11, 2018, under Samahang Manggagawa sa Slord Development Corporation-Manila Workers Unity who are fighting for regularization, minimum wage for all the workers, and safe working conditions.

The Uni-Pak workers’ campout at the Navotas Fish Port Complex. Photo by KJ Dumapit / Manila Today.
A youth swaps stories with Uni-Pak workers. Photo by KJ Dumapit / Manila Today.

Despite lengths of service spanning up to three decades, these workers were never regularized by the company. Contractual workers are categorized as ‘extra’ and ‘extra regular’ workers whose wages only amount to P350-P370 a day. They don’t have benefits (SSS, Philhealth, PAG-IBIG), 13th-month pay, holiday pay, rest day pay, service incentive leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, solo parent leave and the likes.

Workers are also terminated once the management finds out that the workers are pregnant. They also smell the steamed fish with formalin to identify which fish are rotten and are not suitable for production.

How to get there: The best way to get to the Kampuhan is thru Divisoria. From Tondo Church, ride the jeepney going to ‘Boulevard’. Tell the driver to drop you off at C-3 Road or the exit gate of the Navotas Fish Port Complex. The fare is only worth Php 8.00. Should you want to use Grab, you can put the destination at Slord Development Corporation.

Tip: Since you’re coming from Divisoria, you can maximize your Divi walk by buying vegetables along the road to donate to the women workers’ camp. These working mothers sure love to cook vegetables. Also, be sure to advise them if you’re allergic to seafood because sometimes they serve different kinds of fish, squid and mussels given to them by their supporters from the fish port

Jollibee

 

 

Jollibee has stood as a symbol of childhood and has been embedded in the culture of Filipinos symbolizing happiness. Workers think otherwise.

“Hindi BEE-da ang saya sa Jollibee” is what the contractual workers of Jollibee Foods Corporation declared when the fast food giant terminated the contracts of Toplis Solution and Staff Search Agency that provide workers for its commissary and warehouse departments. The workers are responsible for storing, handling, and distributing products of all other warehouses and Jollibee stores in Luzon. They cater their services to Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwhich, Burger King, Mang Inasal, and Red Ribbon. When Jollibee scrapped the agencies’ contracts, 400 workers lost their jobs.

“Hindi BEE-da ang saya sa Jollibee” is what the contractual workers of Jollibee Foods Corporation declared when the fast food giant terminated the contracts of Toplis Solution and Staff Search Agency that provide workers for its commissary and warehouse departments.

Jollibee topped the list of companies engaging in labor-only contracting released by DOLE. Earlier, DOLE issued an order to the Tan-Caktiong-owned corporation to regularize its 7,000 store crew members yet not a single worker is regularized as of press time.

The workers under Samahang Manggagawa sa Jollibee Foods Corporation and Defend Job Philippines set-up their ‘Beehive’ campout outside the gates of the Jollibee Foods Corporation warehouse. They also called on the public to temporarily not patronize JFC and its subsidiaries in support of the struggle of the workers.

Jollibee workers constructing their ‘Beehive’ at JFC’s main warehouse in Parañaque City. Photo by Cha Seleteria / Manila Today.

How to get there: Take the PNR and get off at Bicutan Station. Walk towards SM Bicutan and then ride a jeepney going to Muntinlupa. Tell the driver to drop you off at South Super Highway Medical Hospital. Beside that is the Beehive. For Grab, you can put the destination at South Super Highway Medical Hospital (good luck with the bill!).

Tip: The Beehive is in need of water and food so be sure to carry with you your donations when you visit. School supplies for the workers’ children are also very much welcome

NutriAsia

 

 

There’s blood in your condiments.

Every single condiment we use at home comes with horrid stories of contractualization. NutriAsia is well known for manufacturing Datu Puti, Silver Swan, Papa Ketchup, Mang Tomas, UFC Ketchup, Golden Fiesta cooking oil, and Locally Blended Juice Drinks.

NutriAsia outsourced its workers through manpower agency B-Mirk Enterprise and is only paying workers Php 380 per day for 12 hours of work. Only a hundred of the company’s 1,400 workers are regular. Workers are made to handle boiling products with their bare hands since NutriAsia does not provide safety gear.

The workers established a union but the condiment giant responded by terminating the officers of the union and its members who supported their union leaders by simply clapping their hands in protest to the termination.

The workers didn’t buy the “Masarap, masaya basta NutriAsia” peg anymore so they staged a strike under Samahang Manggagawa sa Nutriasia that has paralyzed NutriAsia’s production.

The camp at NutriAsia. Photo by Ken Llarenas / Manila Today.

Last June 14, the management attempted to disperse the workers’ picket line, resulting in a violent attack by the Philippine National Police. Some 23 workers and five others were rushed to the hospital. Even women and youth supporters were terribly beaten by the police. Not a surprise, because PNP Bulacan’s chief is no less than Chito Bersaluna, the notorious head who was behind the killing of Kian Delos Santos last August 16, 2017.

Last June 14, the management attempted to disperse the workers’ picket line, resulting in a violent attack by the Philippine National Police. Some 23 workers and five others were rushed to the hospital.

On February 23, DOLE released a decision stating that NutriAsia is engaged in labor-only contracting and must regularize its 914 workers for doing so. But just recently, DOLE Region III reversed its decision stating that the striking workers are employees of B-Mirk instead of NutriAsia.

How to get there: Ride a UV Express Van at Trinoma going to Meycauayan or SM Marilao. Tell the driver to drop you off at Welcome Pantoc. Ride a tricycle from there then tell the driver to drop you off a NutriAsia.

Tip: Don’t bring condiments by NutriAsia as donation to the workers. There’s already a strong call to boycott their products because of the violence against the workers. It would be better if you bring home-made organic condiments that Sama-Samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA) just recently introduced on Facebook. Also, you can bring additional canvas/lona, used tarpaulins, bamboo and other materials to fortify the striking workers’ tents.

Middleby Philippines

Middleby Philippines is a company manufacturing commercial cooking equipment for fast foods companies and other restaurants. Middleby Philippines, which is under the US-based Middleby Corporation, refused to comply to DOLE’s order released last April 4, 2018, to regularize its 131 workers. The company employs about 300 workers but only 82 are regular workers.

On May 10, the 131 workers of Middleby Philippines staged a sit-down strike as the company threatened the workers with termination. For more than a month, the workers stayed inside the factory and totally paralyzed production.

Middleby Philippines’ sit-down strike. Photo grabbed from Pamantik KMU’s Facebook page.
The striking workers of Middleby Philippines. Photo grabbed from Pamantik KMU’s Facebook page.

For more than a month, the workers stayed inside the factory and totally paralyzed production.

In response, Middleby used brute force against the workers. The union president and secretary were arrested while tasers were used by the management against striking members of Samahan ng mga Manggagawang Kontraktwal sa Middleby to break down the strike. The strikers were also denied of food and water brought to them by supporters outside the Special Economic Zone where the factory is located. Their only water supply comes from the comfort room faucet. A food blockade is continuously happening at the factory and even supporters who attempt to deliver food and throwing it over the fence of the factory are met with water cannons from the police.

How to get there: Ride a bus going to Cabuyao, Laguna from terminals located at Cubao or LRT-Buendia Station. Tell the driver to drop you off at Laguna Technopark Industrial Enclave in Biñan, Laguna.

Monde Nissin

 

 

Our undeclared ‘pambansang noodles’ is produced by contractual workers in Laguna. Lucky Me!, Nissin, Voice, Bingo, and Monde are among the products manufactured by the workers of Monde Nissin.

After an inspection, DOLE declared that the company is engaged in contractualization. Eighteen workers were illegally terminated by the corporation and are currently staging a protest camp at the company gate.

Monde Nissin workers’ protest camp. Photo grabbed from Pamantik KMU’s Facebook page.

Eighteen workers were illegally terminated by the corporation and are currently staging a protest camp at the company gate.

How to get there: Ride a bus going to Balibago-Sta. Rosa, Laguna from terminals located at Cubao or LRT-Buendia Station. Tell the driver to drop you off at Laguna Technopark Industrial Enclave in Biñan, Laguna.

Tip: Middleby Philippines and Monde Nissin are factories located at special economic zones that are very hard to access if you’re not a worker from any of the corporations inside the zone. Should you want to schedule a visit, interview or give support/donations, kindly coordinate with their organizers from Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Kagatalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU). You can reach them via Facebook.

This list will be updated in the weeks to come because several other workers’ associations and unions are set to stage their own camp-outs and strikes as well so be sure to visit this site regularly for new information about the plight of the Filipino workers.

Tambay tayo? Tara!

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