DOLE investigating Pepsi, Jollibee for retrenchment of workers

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it is investigating beverage giant Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines for its alleged violation of labor laws after it recently retrenched about 1,000 workers.

In an interview, DOLE Undersecretary Joel B. Maglunsod said they plan to look into the complaints filed by Pepsi’s casual employees.  He said the case of Pepsi is “complicated,” since it involves issues of illegal contractualization and illegal dismissal.

Members of the Pepsi-Cola Workers’ Association (PCWA) held a joint demonstration with the workers of Jollibee Food Corp. Worldwide Services-Logistics on Monday in front of DOLE’s main office in Intramuros, Manila, to protest against their employer’s supposed violation of labor laws.

PCWA Vice President Ricardo Gandalla said their employment was abruptly terminated by Pepsi after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shut down the deep wells it used in its Muntinlupa plant to reduce its operational costs.

The PCWA membership is comprised by casual Pepsi employees.

“Since there is no water [from the deep wells], they were not able to operate. They told us they will not be employing anymore casual [workers],” Gandalla said in an interview.

Maglunsod said Pepsi already underwent labor inspection last December, but he has yet to get its final results.

He said they scheduled a meeting with the official bargaining unit of Pepsi, PCWA and the Pepsi management in a series of meetings up to next week to get more details on the issue.

Aside from the displacement issue, Maglunsod said they will also look into Pepsi’s contractors to see if their operations are legal.

DOLE said it will conduct the same consultations for the new illegal contractualization case of JFC.

Maglunsod said they are verifying the complaints filed by some of JFC’s contractual workers.

In an interview, Rogelio Magistrano, the president of the association, said JFC prematurely terminated the contract of their contractor, Toplis Solution Inc. (TIS), after getting word of their plan to form a labor union.

“During the midnight of June 17, the management decided to terminate the contract. The contract was supposed to end on June 30,” Magistrano said.

He said the termination of TIS contract would affect 400 workers.

Magistrano said the workers should be regularized since their work in the JFC’s warehouse logistic is directly related to the company’s main business operations.

Like the case of Pepsi, Maglunsod said JFC Worldwide Services-Logistics already underwent a labor inspection.

“We still have no result [from the inspection]. The process is still ongoing, but Jollibee already decided to retrench its workers,” Maglunsod said.

Last month, DOLE confirmed some of JFC’s offices are engaged in labor-only contracting–the illegal labor practice of contracting jobs directly related to the operations of the company.

DOLE ordered the fastfood chain to regularize 14,960 contractual workers. The contractual workers of JFC Worldwide Services-Logistics are not included in the said regularization order.

While their respective cases are pending, Maglunsod said they will provide livelihood assistance to the displaced workers of Pepsi and JFC.

 

 

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A reporter who covers the labor beat for the BusinessMirror. He graduated with a journalism degree at the University of Santo Tomas in 2009.

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