Comrades, compas, et al., The first message reproduced below is a call from the militant workers' organization, the KMU, for support against union-busting by Nestle in the Philippines. For background on the KMU, I include the following paragraph from the back cover of the book by Kim Scipes <email@example.com>, KMU: BUILDING GENUINE TRADE UNIONISM IN THE PHILIPPINES, 1980-1994.
> The KMU (Kilusang Mayo Uno) or May First Movement is the most
>militant labor center in the Philippines, and one of the most
>dynamic and developed in the world. It played a key role in
>toppling the Marcos dictatorship, and has been central in the
>fight against the restoration of a system of elite democracy.
>Based at the point of production, distribution and exchange in
>the Philippine economy, it has acted to raise wages and improve
>working conditions for its members, while challenging the
>various government's 'western' model of development and the
>Philippines' role in the global economy. It has allied with
>social movements throughout the country and internationally, and
>is one of the creators of a new type of trade unionism--social
>movement unionism--that is a model for workers in both the
>'third world' and the so-called developed countries.
[Kim's book was published in 1996 by New Day Publishers, Quezon City, Philippines. It is available in the US, for $18.95, from Sulu Arts and Books, 465 Sixth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-4794. Voice: (415) 777-2451, fax: (415) 777-4676.]
I have also appended a message to remind us of Nestle's most notorious corporate crime: pushing infant formula on mothers in the "third world" who don't realize that they may be murdering their babies by using it! Of course, those who are -- probably with good reason -- afraid of Nestle's megabucks lawyers and the pro-corporate courts, won't come out and call Nestle a mass murderer of babies. But I think that it's a very conservative estimate that the number of babies killed by Nestle's infant formula is in the hundreds of thousands, and that the number harmed is in the millions. Incidentally, most of the other products Nestle is famous for are ways of getting poor people to spend their very limited money satisfying a craving for sugar, chocolate, coffee and other legal drugs. The misery and death caused by Nestle makes the Cali and Medellin cartels and even all the CIA's cocaine and heroin pushers seem positively benign in comparison. Although I'm passing on the KMU's call for peaceful, legal forms of solidarity action, I think that it's appropriate for the workers' and peoples' movements around the world to DECLARE WAR ON NESTLE! Their executives and others who are responsible for making and implementing their murderous policies should be held accountable for their CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY! I hope that many groups and individuals, ranging from guerrilla armies to militant workers to church-going pacifists, will, in accordance with their own principles and resources, take some kind of action against Nestle and the criminals who run it.
-- For international solidarity against capital, -- Aaron <firstname.lastname@example.org>
-------------- Forwarded message: --------------- Date: Sat, 26 Jul 1997 09:12:19 +0200 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (by way of email@example.com) Subject: International Solidarity for the striking Nestle Workers
26 July 1997
The strike of workers belonging to the Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa - Kilusang Mayo Uno Nestle Philippines Inc. - Ice Cream & Chilled Products Division (IBM-KMU NPI-ICCPD Chapter) has been going on for more than half a year now. A total of 129 workers have already been summarily terminated by the Nestle management after they refused to go back to work unless ALL of them are re-instated without retaliatory action.
Nestle has already resumed its operation after hiring contractual workers to replace the regular ones. They also continue to ignore the striking workers by not attending the conciliation meetings at the Department of Labor and Employment.
One of the biggest monopoly-capitalist corporations worldwide, Nestle has earned a reputation of being a notorious union-buster. It has consistently employed various dirty tactics and acted in bad faith against the union in its plants.
This coming 11-15 August, KMU will hold a one-week solidarity activity in support of the striking NPI-ICCPD workers. This activity is part of the resolution approved in the recently-held 14th KMU-International Solidarity Affair attended by delegates from 11 countries. Support of other sectoral organizations under the banner of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) will also be solicited for this campaign.
A similar activity was held last 9-13 June characterized by nightly programs and vigils. This time, we are launching an International Solidarity for the striking Nestle Workers.
The highlight of the campaign is an internationally-coordinated picket protest outside Nestle offices in our respective countries synchronized on the 11th of August. Other suggested activities for the week are signature drive, barrage of protest letters, information drive and fund-raising activities.
With regards to this, we are asking your organization to participate in the said international campaign. It would be a great help in drumbeating the struggle of the workers here in the Philippines.
Please let us know of your response and other activities you are planning to do. We will communicate again for some updates.
In the face of continuing attacks, let us show Nestle that its workers are not alone in their struggle. Nestle should never be allowed to get away with its outright violation of workers' rights.
Crispin B. Beltran Chairman KMU
P.S. Attached [here reproduced below -- Aaron] is a copy of the petition letter. Please circulate and send to:
Mr. J.B. Santos President Nestle Philippines Inc. Ice Cream & Chilled Products Division 710 Aurora Blvd. 1100 Quezon City, Philippines Telefax No: (632)721-7465
C.E.O. M.H.O. Maucher Nestle S.A. Av. Nestle 55, CH-1800 Vevey, Switzerland Tel No: 021-9242111
Please furnish us also a copy. Our address:
KMU-International Dept. Rm. 301 Phil. Herald Bldg. 60-61 Muralla St. Intramuros, Manila, Philippines Telefax: (632) 928-4036 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
[The following is the petition letter, originally sent as an attachment, "c:\Documents\INTLCAMP.TXT". -- Aaron]
A PETITION TO REINSTATE 129 ILLEGALLY DISMISSED WORKERS AND A STOP TO UNION BUSTING ACTIVITIES IN NESTLE-PHILIPPINES
For more than half a year now, workers of the Magnolia-Nestle Philippines Inc - Ice Cream and Chilled Products Division (NPI-ICCPD), under the Ilaw at Buklod ng Manggagawa - Kilusang Mayo Uno (IBM-KMU), have been on strike for their jobs and union rights. In an apparent union-busting tactic, the Nestle management illegally dismissed 10 workers, 8 of whom were union officials, and suspended 200 others last January 10. The union struck immediately two days later. The management said the workers violated the company's Code of Conduct, specifically its good manufacturing procedure, when they wore armbands, pins and placards in a protest action last 18-23 November 1996. The protest was meant to press management to act on 23 workers' demands which the management refused to act on. These included discrepancies in economic benefits, work transfers, work schedule and a flexible labor policy with workers given no definite job assignments. A memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by both parties on 24 November but subsequently violated by the managment stipulated that an administrative body would be formed to study the demands of the workers. In its frantic bid to divide the striking workers, the management has resorted to house-hopping, bribery, strike dispersal, intimidations and other forms of harassment. Last January 22, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) issued an order allowing the management free ingress and egress in the factory. Around 250 combined forces of security guards, police, members of Special Weapons and Tactics, Anti-bomb squad and civilian military agents forcibly broke the barricades put up by the workers. Last April 18 and 29, the management again tried to break the workers' peaceful moving picket. Around 125 security guards stationed in the five gates of the company dragged strikers and supporters and alternately threatened, kicked and punched them. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) assumed jurisdiction of the strike last April 2 and issued a return-to-work order to all the striking workers except the eight union officers dismissed. Last 11 April, all the remaining strikers were summarily terminated for insisting that a no retaliatory clause should be made before the workers went back to work. This brought to 129 the total number of dismissed workers. Nestle started operating in the Philippines in 1911, distributing baby foods and other milk brands. Today, it has six plants in the country producing coffee, milk, infant formulas, noodles, food seasoning, ice cream, chocolates and sugar confectioneries. Indeed, a monopoly in consumer needs. Its ICCPD plant is a joint venture with the San Miguel Corporation, the biggest food and beverage conglomerate in the Philippines. Nestle has assumed a 60% controlling share in the company in February 1996. Before the strike, ICCPD has a total workforce of 305, with regular workers numbering 223. All over the world, Nestle has established a record of being a notorious union-buster. Consistently working for a union-free environment, it has employed standard formula to weaken unions in its plant and other subsidiaries. In the Philippines, 69 union leaders and 34 unionists were dismissed at the height of a strike in 1987. In 1989, the union president of Nestle's Cabuyao plant was killed by an unknown gunman, believed to be executed because of his union activities. The recent dispute in ICCPD is viewed as another move of the Nestle management to smash the militant union in its plant, implement its anti-worker and repressive code of conduct and enforce its program of retrenchment and contractualization. The IBM-KMU has called for the BOYCOTT OF ALL NESTLE PRODUCTS. Various organizations and individuals, both local and foreign, heeded the call. Some 30 organizations from Australia, Belgium, Germany, India, Japan, Nepal, the Netherlands, Sweden, USA, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Switzerland have sent solidarity messages and protest letters. Some individuals have also integrated in the picketline when they visited the country. At the local level, around 31 labor organizations representing half a million workers, and at least 10 non-labor national organizations, have also given their support. In the face of continuing attacks, let us show Nestle that its workers are not alone in its struggle. Nestle should never be allowed to get away with its outright violation of workers' rights. In support of the workers' struggle, we are supporting the campaign for the BOYCOTT of ALL Nestle products. We also demand:
1) IMMEDIATE REINSTATEMENT OF ALL DISMISSED WORKERS WITHOUT LOSS OF SENIORITY RIGHTS AND OTHER PRIVILEGES UNDER THE EXISTING CBA! 2) STOP UNION-BUSTING ACTIVITIES!
NAME COUNTRY ORGANIZATION
--------------- [End of petition to print.] ---------------
[The last line of the petition should also be printed at the top of each additonal page, if any. -- Aaron]
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 19:06:45 -0400 Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA> From: Sam Lanfranco <lanfran@YORKU.CA> Subject: Nestle Boycott Continues (fwd)
/* Written 12:42 AM Apr 9, 1997 by twn in igc:twn.features */ /* ---------- "Nestle Boycott Continues" ---------- */ INTERNATIONAL BOYCOTT AGAINST NESTLE CONTINUES
The international boycott against Nestle for its unethical marketing of infant formula was first launched in July 1977. Today, the boycott is still very much alive, because of the company's persistence in violating the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
By Mary Assunta Third World Network Features
The international boycott against Nestle is very much alive since its launch two decades ago. This boycott is still on because Nestle continues to employ unethical marketing tactics in many countries. Nestle is one of the world's largest food manufacturers, with a turnover of US$42 billion. It controls approximately 40% of the worldwide market for baby food. It influences UN systems, food legislation, market trends and company behaviour more than any other food company. Nestle's persistence in violating the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes was once again revealed in a four-country research commissioned by the Interagency Group on Breastfeeding Monitoring (IGBM). Entitled 'Cracking the Code', the report reveals the massive scale of company marketing malpractice. Initially Nestle dismissed the IGBM report, even before reading it, and announced on BBC World Service that it would not 'accept reproaches from self-appointed groups'. However in the face of the scandalous findings a week later Nestle changed its tune to, 'We take this report seriously.' According to the latest Update of Baby Milk Action's Boycott News, the international boycott is having an important impact on Nestle, not only in direct economic terms but also in wielding damage to its corporate image, management morale and management time the company must spend combating it. The Update reports that in recent years many companies have reversed policies as a result of public pressure, to the benefit of people, the environment and their own image. Nestle however has only curbed some of its more blatant malpractices. The Update states that Nestle's latest efforts in countering the boycott is to advertise itself as a squeaky clean beneficial force by distorting facts. An advertisement which appeared in the Oxford Independent claims that even before the introduction of the WHO Code, '... Nestle marketed infant formula ethically and responsibly and has done so ever since.' The Update however cites some examples of Nestle's promotions in India where there are laws to prevent companies from advertising infant formula. Nestle has come around this by aggressively promoting other expensive processed baby food products with idealised pictures of babies on the tins and in a language locals don't understand. Such promotions continue to undermine breastfeeding. Nestle is the sole advertiser of baby foods in the Indian edition of Parenting magazine and its Cerelac advertisements are found in pharmacies. It even offers cash incentives for local salespersons to display products. A pharmacist in Jaipur said that only Nestle representatives are offering payment in return for a prominent display of baby foods. He receives 200 rupees each month. The Update also points out that the advertisement in the Oxford Independent makes no mention of criminal charges against Nestle in India or the company's challenge to the Indian law, or its attempts to undermine strong baby food legislation in the Philippines, Ghana, Pakistan, Uganda and Europe. The advertisement mentions Nestle's new Charter on its infant formula policy in developing countries. However despite its attempts to whitewash its real practices with a feeble Charter the truth is Nestle continues to undermine legislation in many countries, promote its products through health facilities, give gifts to health workers and has never disciplined its staff for violating the International Code. While Nestle's biggest complaint has been over-regulation and has been actively undermining attempts to bring about strong baby food legislation in many countries, ironically it is calling for legislations of a different kind to be strictly enforced. Nestle wants its corporate brand - the nest - to be protected and entrenched in the law and strictly enforced by the authorities. The Update reports that Nestle's Vice President, Peter Brabeck, made this call for better brand protection and speedy trade deregulation when addressing government representatives of developing countries at the October 1996 Global Investment Forum organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He said, '... Our corporate brand - the nest - is the seal, it takes our products out of anonymity which one might find with other products... The consumers' trust helps us to introduce completely new concepts...' For decades Nestle has used 'the nest' to get mothers to 'trust' in their products which have caused suffering to infants all over the world. This is indeed a scandalous betrayal of trust, especially of the poor from developing countries. In the face of Nestle's continuous irresponsible marketing practices, the international boycott against the company is still on in 17 countries. This boycott will continue till Nestle stops its irresponsible behaviour. - Third World Network Features
About the writer: Mary Assunta is a media officer with the Consumers' Association of Penang in Malaysia. This article is based on information from Boycott News, supplement to Baby Milk Action, Update 20, February/March 1997.
When reproducing this feature, please credit Third World Network Features and (if applicable) the cooperating magazine or agency involved in the article, and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.
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