Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nestle execs in Manila

"Spiced, not iced tea?"

by Willie Baun
Published 28 June 2011 in STREETLIGHTS, People's Journal
(Original article available online here)

"ALRIGHT, intractable six-cup Nescafe Joe warns, just as long as you don’t dunk bad news in my coffee mug; I say consider the caveat seconded.

With the hot and humid spell of summer blown off by the typhoon season, expect a drought of sorts in the market for soft drinks, juices, halo-halo and, oh yeah, iced tea. 

However, Nestle Philippines, Inc. executives John Miller, Shahab Bachani, and Nandu Nandkishore may well pick up the downer, as it were, while having to drink gallons of iced Nestea to cool off. 

The NPI triumvirate company and personal legal problems that, for sure, somehow dampened the recent celebration of the global Swiss firm’s 100 years in the Philippines. 

Perjury charges have been filed against them in the Makati and Quezon regional trial courts. Complainant in the case is no smalltime outfit that NPI can ignore, let alone mess with.

The plaintiff is Banco de Oro, which just happens to be owned by Forbes Magazine’s top Filipino billionaire – mall magnate Henry Sy, owner of the ubiquitous SM malls.

BdO’s issue with NPI is its alleged failure to divulge prior knowledge of the financial woes of an NPI-favored distributor, who kept getting bank loans on the strength of the endorsements by aforementioned NPI execs. 

Some NPI distributors have also complained to the Department of Trade and Industry and taken legal action against the firm’s bully tactics – alleged instances of predatory pricing that sacrificed their profitability to the goal of booting rival brands out of contention. 

Shouldn’t pouring when it rains be bad enough for NPI? I’m inclined to agree if only for the Nescafe aroma that delights me as I write. But then again there’s simply more! 

This refers to the long-festering labor dispute in the NPI plant in Cabuyao, Laguna where more than 600 employees had gone on strike nine years ago to compel management to the bargaining table and discuss wages and benefits. 

The company purportedly simply turned a deaf ear to the worker’s plaints, allegedly to this date, has all but disregarded the Supreme Court’s decision in 2006, ordering NPI to reinstate the strikers and initiate formal negotiations. 

In the meantime, some of the strikers have reportedly been killed mysteriously, notably union leader Melito Roxas and his successor Diosdado Fortuna. 

Perhaps Mssrs. Miller, Bachani, and Nandkishore would care to share their iced tea with those who feel they’ve been mistreated by their company for the longest time. Or should it be spiced tea to ensure the complainants just grin and bear it?"

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