National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the management of a Kuwaiti-owned banana plantation based in Pantukan, Compostela Valley for orchestrating a smear campaign against the workers’ union in trying to defeat the latter in a certification election.
The labor group condemned the management of Musahamat Farms for working with the Armed Forces of the Philippines through its 46th Infantry Battalion and the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines in linking the KMU-affiliated union with armed rebel group New People’s Army.
“We vehemently condemn the Musahamat Farms management for launching a smear campaign against the workers’ union in trying to make the management union win. It is spreading lies and fear among workers in trying to protect its huge profits,” said Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general.
KMU-Southern Mindanao Region claimed that the 46th IB conducted census and “peace and development outreach programs” among union members, and told workers that the Musahamat Workers Labor Union or MWLU is allied with the NPA and that the union’s victory would not be good for the company.
“In interfering in union matters, the AFP is again showing that it is the security force of big foreign and local capitalists in the country, not of workers. It is again showing that it is a mercenary army and not a protectors of the people,” Adonis added.
KMU-SMR also said that elements of the 46th IB were also seen by field workers putting up signs along the highway saying “KMU Suportahan aron kita matabangan –NPA-NPA,” “Ihunong ang ilegal (sic) suspension sa mga trabahante! – KMU-NPA,” “Iboto ang tinuod nga tinuod nga (sic) unyon KMU! – NPA.”
“These actions are meant to intimidate workers into rejecting KMU, given the cases of extra-judicial killings in Compostela Valley and the entire Mindanao. We are calling on Musahamat workers to remain steadfast in standing up for their union and for fighting for their rights,” Adonis stated.
In February 2015, KMU filed a complaint before the International Labor Organization against the Musahamat Farms management, in relation to the forcible presentation of MWLU leaders as NPA surrenderees on August 2014.
Reference: Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general, 0999-4499794