From: APEC Labour Rights Monitor <alarm@HK.Super.NET>
Subject: apec-L: AA98-01: DOLE Philippines
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 19:17:34 +0800
Precedence: bulk

US Fresh Fruit Transnational Attacks Workers' Union and Cooperatives in the Philippines

ALARM Action Alert, 98-01, 14 January 1998

Updates on National Federation of Labor (NFL) and DOLE Philippines

The negotiations between the NFL and Stanfilco (Dole) Philippines have been suspended because of the worsening dispute between the agrarian reform co-operatives and Stanfilco.

It has been one month since the agrarian reform co-operatives—DARBCO, SEARBMPCO, DARBMUPCO and CFARBMPCO—stopped producing bananas for Dole, because of a conflict over the low price (below production cost) Dole is paying.

On 22 December 1997, barricades set-up by DARBMUPCO were violently dispersed by 500 heavily armed company guards, goons, police and elements of 432nd Infantry Battalion. Scores of picketers were shot at and beaten, and officers and members of the co-operative's Board of Directors face criminal charges for arson (In fact, it was the raiders who burned the tents and belongings of the picketers). The DARBMUPCO plantation remains militarised, and members of the co-operative are prevented from entering their plantation.

Dole maintains a hard line in negotiations; its price offer is still below the cost of production, and Dole refurses to allow the co-operatives to be represented in negotiations by technical and legal consultants.

The Foundation for Agrarian Reform and the NFL are asking for protest messages to be sent to Dole headquarters, urging the company to seek a fair negotiated solution to the conflict rather than a continued reliance on violent repression.


The world's largest grower and supplier of fresh fruit and vegetables, Dole Food Company Inc., is attacking the National Federation of Labor (NFL) inthe Philippines in order to force the union to withdraw its support from SEARBAI, and agrarian reform cooperative, and its supporting NGO, FARM.

With support from FARM, the cooperative SEARBAI is negotiating with Dole Food Company over the price of bananas. Dole Food Company is trying to force the cooperative to accept a low contract price which would mean that SEARBAI would have to sell bananas at a loss like other cooperatives that Dole buys from. To weaken the position of the cooperative, Dole is attacking the NLF by using an outstanding financial settlement over a strike declared illegal in 1989 to confiscate union dues and to seize the property and buildings of NFL, including the union's educational facilities. Dole is not really interested in the money NLF must pay in damages, but is in fact using this to demand that the union break its ties with SEARBAI and FARM.

The NFL is strongly resisting this pressure from Dole Food Company and has stated that: Even if it meant the end of its existence, the NFL will not let go its principles.

We encourage labour and human rights organisations, consumer organisations, and development NGOs to join the protest against this action by Dole Food Company. Please send protest letters demanding the following:

1. That Dole Food Company and its subsidiary in the Philippines, Stanfilco, stop its unfair attack on the NFL and immediately seek a fair and reasonable settlement with the NFL.

2. Dole Food Company and its subsidiary, Stanfilco, have no right to interfere in the operation of SEARBAI and FARM, and must respect the right of the cooperative to receive support from any non-governmental organisation it chooses.

3. Dole Food Company must end its practice of forcing and harrassing co-operatives—DARBCO, SEARBMPCO, DARBMUPCO and CFARBMPCO—and local suppliers to sell their produce at a loss.

4. Stop the militarisation of the DARBMUPCO plantation and allow the beneficiaries to occupy their plantation.

5. Negotiate a fair trade contract with all the coops at the earliest possible time.

6. Drop the criminal and civil suits against the members and the officers of the cooperatives.

7. Dole Food Company must meet these demands if they wish to avoid public protest and consumer action.

Please send protest letters to

1)Mr David Murdock
Chairman and CEO
Dole Food Company, Inc.
31365 Oak Crest Drive
Westlake, CA 91361
Fax: 1 818 879 6615

2) Stanfilco
Fax No: +63-82 233-1512

Please send copies of protest letters and messages of solidarity to:

1) Mr Armando Alforque
General Secretary
National Federation of Labor (NFL)
Fax: +63-2 928-1050

[NFL is an affiliate of the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF).]

2)Action Alert
c/o AMRC
444 Nathan Road, 8-B
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2332-1346
Fax: (852) 2385-5319

For more information on this campaign please contact

1) Mr Ron Oswald
General Secretary
IUF, Switzerland
Fax: +41-22 793-2238

or in the Asia-Pacific region, contact

2)Mr Ma Wei Pin
IUF Asia Pacific
Sydney, Australia
Fax: 612 9261 8539

Also, Japan is the main export market for the bananas that Dole Food Company forces cooperatives in the Philippines to sell at a loss. Japan is also Dole's largest market for pineapples and other fresh fruit. Dole also operates the Dole Fruit Cafe in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Please raise public awareness of the repressive practices of Dole Food Company by taking your protest directly to the Dole Fruit Cafe!

For further information in Japan, please contact

Mr Masaki Mizuno
IUF Japan Office, Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +03 5250-0375 / +03 5250-03376
Fax: +03 5250-03374