Laid-off workers picket Cebu bakeshop

By CARMI C. CAVANLIT, ABS-CBN Central Visayas

Posted at Mar 24 2009 06:23 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2009 02:23 AM

Several laid-off workers staged an hour-long protest in front of the main branch of a major bakeshop chain in Cebu Monday over alleged labor law violations.

The 13 workers who were fired from Anita's Home Bakeshop in January picketed in front of the main branch office in Fuente Osmeña in Cebu City, bearing placards and demanding that the bakeshop's management give them back their jobs. The management had reportedly fired the workers to cut operation costs.

The group, all members of Anita's Home Bakeshop Workers Union- Alliance of Nationalist and Genuine Labor Organization, along with AMASugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno accused the management of union busting, disrespect to the union's certification of election, illegal dismissals, and violation to the Minimum Wage Law.

Jeangie Andrino, who served Anita's for 20 years, told ABS-CBN News that they had scheduled hearings at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) but the bakeshop management never showed up. Andrino said the management has also refused to respond to their notice of strike or moves for reconciliation.

"We have been patient even though our families are starving, we respect them, but they are not showing respect to our hopes," Andrino said in her native dialect.

Wennie Bayados, Chairman of AMA-Sugbo-KMU, also claimed that the management gave workers salaries below the minimum wage. "Workers here are receiving 220 pesos, rather than the 267 minimum wage, and that is how they are violating the labor code."

Bayados also claimed that the union members are reassigned to one branch, which will later be closed down by the management purportedly due to financial losses.

The bakeshop management, however, refused to face the workers.

The group, meanwhile, said they will perform a rally before the end of the month.

Anita's Bakeshop Inc. has 18 branches all over Cebu, employing about 94 rank-and-file employees. The bakeshop supplies buns to McDonald's stores all over the Visayas region.