No endo in Marilao plant, says NutriAsia
NutriAsia, Inc. (NAI) denied claims that endo is practiced in its Bulacan plant, dismissing the growing backlash against the company even as some consumers vowed to boycott NAI’s popular products.
In a statement, NAI defended B-Mirk Enterprises, NAI’s toll packer, whose workers have protested against alleged unfair treatment, including endo, low wages, and unhealthy working conditions.
The statement, which claims that no wrong has been done, is a far cry from anecdotes of workers that have been publicly reported recently, including those that spread on social media.
According to reports, workers are also calling for the reinstatement of dismissed union leaders. The protests, which were allegedly caused by years of unfair treatment, have been ongoing since early this month.
NAI categorically denied that endo was practiced in their Marilao plant, even noting that the company “agrees and supports” the government’s stand against illegal forms of contractualization.
“The workers of B-Mirk assigned to Marilao Plant are its permanent regular employees. They are assured of and enjoy security of tenure as well as benefits mandated by law for regular employees,” the company said.
Endo refers to the illegal practice of hiring workers for consecutive short term periods in order to avoid paying them the same salaries and benefits afforded to regularized workers.
“Simply put, there is clearly no endo’ or illegal activity being practiced,” NAI, which makes condiments under brands Datu Puti and UFC, among others, as well as juice drink brand Locally, added.
DOLE issued compliance order earlier this year
While the company defended BMirk’s current practice, NutriAsia did not clarify if the same legitimacy could be said for its other contractors, which have been flagged by the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE) earlier this year.
In a February statement on its website, DOLE said that NutriAsia, along with their contractors — namely, B-Mirk, Alternative Network Resources Unlimited Multipurpose Cooperative, and Serbiz Multi-Purpose Cooperative — were found “violating labor laws and general labor standards, and engaged in labor-only contracting activities.”
This has prompted DOLE to issue a compliance order against the companies to regularize over 900 of their workers. It is unclear if this order has been met.
Nevertheless, NutriAsia said they only engage toll packers that fully comply with all legal requirements and observe “sound employment practices.”
NAI said that tapping a legitimate service provider or toll packer such as BMirk is allowed by law.
In the plant, NAI said that B-Mirk provides “auxiliary and support services” using machines and equipment operated by “B-Mirk’s own regular employees.
Disrupted livelihood of a ‘greater majority’
“Despite this, it is unfortunate that a minority of the employees of B-Mirk, joined by external groups committed prohibited activities against the client of their employer,” the company said.
“They have blocked and prevented the safe entry to and exit from the Marilao plant, which has not only paralyzed operations but also disputed the livelihood of a greater majority of their fellow workers,” the company added.
The company even called on the public, which has criticized the firm especially on social media, to keep themselves from making “unfounded statements.”
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