NutriAsia vehemently denied on Thursday that it is engaged in illegal labor schemes saying that it actually supports workers’ rights.
Appearing before a Senate Committee hearing on Thursday, Thelma Meneses of NutriAsia said the company is not engaged in illegal labor schemes and it supports workers’ rights.
She added that they have regular and permanent employees enjoying security of tenure that claimed to be experts.
Meneses, however, clarified that the striking employees are not of NutriAsia but they are workers of their contractor, B-Mirk Enterprises Corporation.
“The striking workers are all regular and permanent employees of B-Mirk and none from NutriAsia, so why from the union under the name of NutriAsia? They are not contractual, they are not casual, they are not endo,” Meneses told the Senate Committee on Labor chaired by Sen. Joel Villanueva.
She further cited the decision of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 3 on June 25, 2018 expressly confirming that these strikers are legitimate employees of B-Mirk.
In the same decision, DOLE confirmed that B-Mirk has a legitimate independent packing arrangement with NutriAsia and that neither B-Mirk nor NutriAsia is engaged in any illegitimate contracting arrangements.
Meneses explained that NutriAsia’s trained personnel do the cooking process of their products and they outsource for the post production, filling and packing.
“Our independent business partner for post production, filling and packing is B-Mirk,” she added.
NutriAsia contracted B-Mirk, a leading packing company in the country, because it has a proven track record for providing services such as filling and packing to several of the biggest companies such as Coca Cola, Nestle, Unilever, San Miguel, Petron, among others.
“Outsourcing of packing processes or warehousing operations or even retail distribution is no different from outsourcing these specialized services similar to the practice of the BPO industry,” Meneses pointed out.
B-Mirk, she added, employs about 10,000 workers, all of them are regular and permanent and that the company is not engaged in illegitimate contractualization.
On June 2, 2018, around 200 of the 1,400 workers in the plant walked out and committed the prohibited act of blocking the gates of the Marilao compound that NutriAsia share with its independent business partners.
“They locked and chained our gates, set up barricades and blocked the way leading into and out of the compound, preventing more than a thousand non-striking workers residing in Bulacan from gainful employment for nearly two months. I just want to highlight again that none of these strikers are NutriAsia employees,” said Meneses.
Although NutriAsia respects the right to free speech and assembly, such rights should be exercised while maintaining peace and order.
To protect the livelihood and safety of the greater majority of non-striking employees, NutriAsia secured court orders for the barricade and blockades to be lifted, but these orders were ignored by the strikers.