NutriAsia explains side on labor dispute in Senate hearing

By Mario Casayuran

NutriAsia said on Friday it is not engaged in illegal labor schemes and it supports workers’ rights.

(Photo from Anakbayan UST's Twitter page / MANILA BULLETIN) (Photo from Anakbayan UST's Twitter page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Appearing before the hearing of the Senate committee on labor, employment, and human resources development chaired by Senator Joel Villanueva, Thelma Meneses, NutriAsia Human Resources group head, said NutriAsia has regular and permanent employees enjoying security of tenure.

Meneses also clarified the employees who recently staged a strike at the NuriaAsia premises are not of NutriAsia but were workers of their contractor, B-Mirk Enterprises Corporation.

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 like Coca Cola, Nestle, Unilever, San Miguel, Petron, among others, she explained.

“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 Villanueva committee.

She 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-Mirck nor NutriAsia is engaged in any illegitimate contracting arrangements, she stressed.

“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,” she 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 shares with its independent business partners.

Most of the employees who went on strike already returned to work after the DOLE released its decision and they were accepted by the company.

Villanueva said she initiated the probe after Senate Resolution No. 810 was filed “to address gaps in the law on enforcement and compliance that facilitates discord and violence similar to situations of the PLDT and NutriAsia workers."