The International Solidarity Week for the Striking Nestle Workers started last Monday, 11 August. At the homefront, the kick-off activity was a barricade at the Nestle - Ice Cream & Chilled Products Division plant. All the five gates were blocked by the protesting workers together with supporters from other unions and people's organizations. Scabs were barred from entering. The protesters used the "element of surprise", staging a picket as early as 5 a.m., and effectively paralyzed the whole-day production. The management was forced to declare the day a non-working one, as the morning-shift scabs could not pass the gates. Estimates of company's losses was placed at P6 million.
Harassment came in the form of threats, with policemen continuously roaming the area and some stationed themselves in front of the picketline allegedly to ensure normal flow of traffic. A certain Major Esmeralda from the Central Police District - Station 7 also came and told the protesters that the picket was illegal since the case is already at the Labor department. He later said that necessary actions would be taken if the workers insist on taking the matter into their own hands.
The next day, the management beefed up their security forces by adding 100 security guards to man the gates. Presence of heavily-armed SWAT (Special Weapons Assault Team) inside the compound was also noticed. The management was reportedly very irked at what happened, and reprimanded the guards for being so "inutile".
Yesterday (13 August), workers picketed the Supreme Court (SC) office to protest its indifference to their plight. The SC denied on 29 July the union's appeal to lift the temporary restraining order on the strike. Another picket was done at the Nestle plant at noontime today. Aside from this, boycott posters were posted at several strategic places in Metro Manila and the picketline was dressed up anew by putting new streamers and banners. Information dissemination continues as well.
At the international level, organizations from different countries sent solidarity messages and were read at today's picket. BAYAN-USA (New Patriotic Alliance) also picketed the Nestle plant in Los Angeles while the Philippine Australia Union Link (PAUL) will try to have a similar action sometime next week. Information drive and petition signing is rolling on and some are holding a fund-raising drive to help the striking workers sustain their struggle.
This is all for now. We'll let you know of other developments.
Thank you very much for the support. With our concerted effort, we are sure to clinch victory.
In class solidarity,
KMU International Department
Thu, 14 Aug 1997 09:25:39 +0200
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