B-MEG workers demand long-delayed wages and other rights

This article is available in Pilipino

Around 100 workers of B-MEG, a factory in the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) in Mariveles, Bataan, are complaining about delayed wages and eight months of non-remittance by the Delta 5 Manpower agency for their Social Security System, PhilHealth and Pagibig benefits. The Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng FAB (NMFAB) condemned this and called for the dismantling of the extremely exploitative “labor agency” system.

The workers said that the coordinator and staff of the agency could not answer why their wages were so delayed and the amount for their benefits was not remitted.

“Delta 5 Manpower Agency and San Miguel Corporation should be held accountable for their crimes against workers. If a Filipino family is already drowning in debt due to low wages, what more if a worker does receive his/her wages,” NMFAB stated.

The workers’ association calls for the elimination of “labor agencies” from B-MEG and nationwide. The prevalence of these agencies, and keeping workers as contractuals violate workers’ rights to job security, living wage and other labor rights.

In 2017, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) granted labor agencies the authority to regularize workers under the guise of eliminating “endo” or “end of contract.” Through this, the agency absolved the capitalists from their obligation to regularize their workers.

It deprived workers of the right to unionize and to demand wage increases. “With so many cases of delayed wages and withholding of benefits, the agencies are one of those giving stress to workers [of B-MEG],” NMFAB said.

The association encouraged B-MEG workers to unite, file lawsuits or complaints and call for regularization from the company. “Contractuals and regulars must work together to build the union that will fight for our right for increased wages, benefits, regularization, safety and job security, and more,” NMFAB insisted.

They also believe that the matter can not be solved by simply asking Tulfo or DOLE. The workers have had a lot of experience appealing to them but issues were not resolved and they only sided with the management. But if the union is established, management itself will be forced to listen to our grievances. Our only support and hope is our unity.

The B-MEG factory in the Freeport Area of Bataan was opened in March 2018. It manufactures biopolymer products or feeds (livestock feed) and produces 20,000 50-kilogram bags or about six million bags per year. B-MEG’s 25-kilogram feeds sell for ₱1,500 to ₱2,800 depending on the class.

The company is owned by San Miguel Pure Foods Company, a subsidiary of Ramon Ang’s San Miguel Corporation. Ang poured ₱60 billion into the construction of B-MEG. B-MEG has at least 25 plants in the country.

AB: B-MEG workers demand long-delayed wages and other rights