US Phillips Seafood brutal Indonesian operation: crabmeat workers hired, fired and outsourced by text message

09.11.15 Urgent Action
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LampungPhillipsMiniplants30102015Phillips Seafood, a US company with a chain of seafood restaurants on the East Coast which also has outlets in airports and casinos and markets processed seafood products, relies on brutal exploitation and disposable jobs for their Indonesian crabmeat. Most of the production workers at the Phillips Seafood crabmeat factory in Lampung, Indonesia are women; 60 percent of these workers have no permanent jobs. They're on permanent standby, and never know when or if they will be called to work by text message. SEND A MESSAGE TO PHILLIPS SEAFOOD!

Earlier this year, 205 of these workers, many with 15 years of service, received the message that they were no longer needed at the factory. Most of the jobs were then outsourced to 'mini plants': isolated, private homes in the forest where they work under the direct supervision of Phillips but for half or less than the meager daily piece wage they received for the same work at the factory on the days they were called to work. 

Until recently there were no permanent positions at Phillips. The IUF-affiliated union began negotiating permanent contracts for long-term employees, and now faces a management backlash. After Phillips terminated the 205 casual workers by text message, some 50 were eventually allowed back (as casuals) on condition that they were not union members. The rest now work, when they receive a message, in the mini plants.

Workers at the mini plants suffer constant cuts and open wounds from extracting crab meat by hand. Since the "mini plants" are illegal operations in the informal sector, the workers are not recognized as employees and have no insurance for work-related injuries. They are given medicinal alcohol to wash the cuts in their hands while working. Workers suffering severe skin rashes and allergies are not called to work until the condition clears up.

With the support of the IUF-affiliated Lampung food workers federation  and the IUF, the workers are resisting this brutal treatment. They are demanding that the company reinstate the 155 casual workers unfairly dismissed earlier this year, end the outsourcing to the mini plants and return the work to the factory under acceptable health and safety conditions, and enter into good faith negotiations with the union on employment and sustainable jobs.

You can support their struggle - CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO PHILLIPS SEAFOOD!

On October 30, the Lampung Foodworkers Federation led a demonstration of130 women workers at the Labour Department demanding government action to close the dangerous 'mini plants', move the work back into the factory under safe conditions, reinstate the dismissed casual workers and facilitate good faith negotiations.