Today hundreds of workers belonging to SENTRO swooped down on Citra Mina outlets around the country to lambast the company for union busting.
The action, dubbed as the national day of protest against Citra Mina, is aimed at once again pressing for the reinstatement of 78 Citra Mina workers who were illegally terminated by company in September 2013 to prevent them from forming a union. It also marks the launch of a global campaign against the erring company.
“The sustained global campaign will expose Citra Mina’s anti-union policies,” Jomari Arevalo, president of the Samahang United Workers of Citra Mina Group of Companies (UWCMGC), said. “While Citra Mina remains indifferent to our plight, their buyers abroad are very sensitive about using products that are tainted with human rights violations,” he added.
The union is fully supported by the global unions the IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) and the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation).
The protesters simultaneously picketed Citra Mina distribution outlets in Parañaque, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro bearing placards demanding “Justice for Citra Mina 78” while distributing flyers that calls on the company to voluntarily recognize the union and to reinstate the workers with full back wages.
For 3 weeks, the union has been trying to reach out to the company to avoid a global campaign, which could affect not just Citra Mina but the entire fishing industry of General Santos. The IUF and ITF even sent a representative from London to General Santos to negotiate with the company. But Citra Mina remains indifferent.
At the local level, the workers enjoy massive support from the religious sector particularly the Passionist Center for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Social Action Center of Metro Dadiangas and NAGKAISA General Santos.
Citra Mina is the country’s second largest seafood exporter. It is based in General Santos, the “tuna capital” of the country. Citra Mina employs at least 3,200 workers, the vast majority of whom are hired as contractual employees, many of them, particularly those who manning their vast fishing fleet, are reportedly hired through the cabo system. The Labor Code disallows the cabo system.