29 May 2014 – Global unions the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) today demanded the reinstatement of 78 unfairly sacked workers at Philippines seafood supplier Citra Mina – and promised the workers their continuing support.
The 78 are fishers and cannery workers at the General Santos-based firm. They were dismissed when they asked for union recognition at the company. A strike and mediation efforts followed, but they remain barred from their jobs. Before the strike there were around 400 regular employees in the company, while about a thousand were contract workers. Today, there are only 72 remaining regular workers left.
Liz Blackshaw is programme leader for the joint ITF/IUF From catcher to counter initiative, which works with fishers to build worker representation and improve conditions across the fishing industry. Speaking from General Santos she explained: “This is the Philippines’ second largest seafood exporter, yet it stands accused of continuing exploitation of its workforce, which it has dangled on short term contracts, in apparent defiance of national law. The ITF and IUF are meeting with local and national government as well as the company’s management to find a solution that secures justice. These workers are also receiving fantastic support from the church, trade unions, community groups and the Alliance of Progressive Labor.”
Updates and photos from General Santos are being posted at www.facebook.com/IUFfisheries. For more about the From catcher to counter programme see www.itfglobal.org/fish/index.cfm