Some 30 workers of RFM Foods Corporation, together with supporters, picketed the Supreme Court this morning to protest the high tribunal’s lopsided decision on their case which they say favors those who capitulated to the management and the company’s management itself.
The workers, who are actually merchandisers selling RFM’s products in malls and supermarkets, were relieved from work in 2004 with only a day’s notice. The workers, who were immediately replaced with contractuals, decided to refuse the management’s offer of 50% separation pay and wage a legal battle.
A segment of the workers, however, decided to take the management’s offer. The SC then ruled that this segment be reinstated from work and be given full backwages – from which the amount equivalent to 50% which they received will be reduced.
“This is a most unfair decision of the Supreme Court. Bakit naman ganoon? Workers who carried on with the fight and refused to compromise with the management are denied justice. Those who compromised are being rewarded,” said Tony Pascual, secretary-general of the National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno, of which the RFM workers’ union is an affiliate.
“The SC decision sends a most dangerous message to workers: compromise with the management and you will be rewarded. This is most unjust and favors capitalists wanting to divide workers’ ranks and reduce payments for their crimes,” he added.
“We demand that that the RFM workers be reinstated to their former positions and be given fullbackwages. That is the justice that workers want. That is the just decision that will benefit all RFM workers,” he said.
NAFLU-KMU also said the SC’s decision is a silent nod to the contractualization of workforces in the country.
“The SC is also in effect saying that capitalists can easily remove workers from work and contractualize workforces. They can divide workers’ resistance to contractualization and pay a meager sum to those who compromise even if they illegally dismiss workers,” Pascual said.
“The RFM workers’ case is another illustration of how contractualization is a bane to workers while being a blessing for capitalists. The SC should do a Luisita on the issue of contractualization and junk this most anti-worker of policies,” he added. Tony Pascual, NAFLU-KMU Secretary General