Home Equality & Justice Philippine faith-based group decries layoff of Nestlé-Wyeth workers

Philippine faith-based group decries layoff of Nestlé-Wyeth workers

Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) on Monday denounced the alleged illegal dismissal of 140 workers of Nestlé-Wyeth in Laguna province, south of Manila. 

Rochelle Porras, executive director of EILER, described the layoff as “a duplicitous move” by the multinational company “considering that the union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) concluded just last December 2022.

Among the dismissed workers “without prior notice” are the 125 rank-and-file union members and 10 union officers who went to work on May 18 but were barred from entering the workplace.

Nestlé-Wyeth management said the factory in Laguna will undergo “organizational restructuring” and “cost-cutting” due to market losses. 

Debbie Faigmani, president of the Wyeth Philippines Progressive Workers Union, debunked the management’s claim saying that everyone in the factory is “well aware of the high revenues.”

“It is not true that the company is suffering losses. Even at the time of the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the operation continued and sales were not affected,” he said. 

“That’s why the illegal dismissal is really questionable. Nestlé-Wyeth is not losing revenues. It just does not want to cut its profit that comes from the sweat and blood of the workers,” he added.

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In 2012, Nestlé completed the acquisition of Pfizer Nutrition, which earlier acquired Wyeth Nutrition three years prior. Nestlé spent a total of USD 11.85 billion and approximately 4,500 Pfizer Nutrition employees integrated into Nestlé. 

EILER claimed that Nestlé “has had a record of union-busting and attacks on unionists.”

During the simultaneous strike in Nestlé plants across the country In 1989, Nestlé union president Meliton Roxas was shot in front of the picket line and more than 100 workers were laid off. 

In 2005, Diosdado Fortuna, who replaced Roxas as Nestlé workers union president was “extrajudicially killed” in Cabuyao, Laguna in 2005 coinciding with another workers’ strike over retirement pay. 

The strike happened after the refusal of Nestle’s management to include the retirement benefits gained by the workers earlier through their collective bargaining agreement.

“Removing the union members and the union officers is an attack on the workers’ freedom of association and right to collective bargaining. We urge the Department of Labor and Employment to look into the matter and ensure that the workers’ rights are upheld,” said Porras.

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