200 workers lose jobs after company shuts down operations

In a general assembly meeting called last Monday by the management of DITFI, a subsidiary of Dole-Stanfilco, company lawyers told workers their services are no longer needed.

DITFI general manager Deogracias Mocam announced Monday that the company will immediately start paying the workers’ separation pay until Nov. 8.

Noel Morales, president of the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa DITFI (NAMADITFI), said the closure was purely an attack against the union. “We are outraged by the management’s decision. From where we stand, we know that they want to quash our union,” he said.

“The workers will never take this sitting down. We have agreed that we will fight through this until DITFI gives back our jobs and negotiate with us,” said Morales.

The closure came as a shock to the workers as negotiations for their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the management were ongoing.

When the union members failed to hear justification of the company’s closure, they walked out of the venue.

Morales said that when their CBA expired last Feb. 11, management has since delayed negotiations for a new agreement.

“Clearly, this is bad faith bargaining. The management was never really serious about negotiating with us,” he stressed.

The union officials said the management failed to comply with any of the procedural requirements in declaring closure.

Even representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) were surprised to hear the announcement, union officials said.

“If they really were closing, how come the company’s trucks are still moving bananas?” asked Morales.

Since Oct. 3, some container vans and generators were moved to TEFASCO, another hauling service company contracted by DITFI.

Romualdo Basilio, chair of the Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao Region (KMU-SMR), said the move of DITFI has always been one of the desperate means of capitalists to undermine genuine and militant unionism.

NAMADIFTI is a member of KMU.

Basilio said that all of the KMU-affiliate unions in Mindanao have signified their support to the struggle of the NAMADITFI workers.

“These profit-hungry capitalists need to know that the workers will fight when pushed to the wall,” said Basilio.