Labor dispute sa PhilSteel: Ipagtanggol ang karapatan at kagalingan ng manggagawa! ITAGUYOD ANG WELGA!

ImageHabang patuloy na nagkukumpuni ng kanilang mga bahay ang manggagawa at kanyang pamilya
at hindi pa nga nakakaahon sa pagsalanta ng magkakasunod na natural na kalamidad tulad ng
mga bagyo at habagat, walang awa namang sumabay sa pananalasa ang kapitalistang Philippine
Steel sa buhay at kabuhayan ng manggagawa. Mas malupit na hagupit ito kaysa anupamang
kalamidad na dumaan.

Sa dalawang magkasunod na pagkakataon noong Hulyo 18 at Agosto 2, iligal na tinanggal ng
kapitalista ang 32 manggagawa mula sa kabuuang 55 kasapi ng unyon. Kabilang na sa tinanggal
na ito ang lahat ng 21 upisyales ng unyon. Matapos ito, sinikap pang gawin ng unyon ng
manggagawa ang lahat ng hakbang upang maisaayos ang mga isyu at mapabalik sila sa trabaho.

Subalit nitong Agosto 21, pinauwi ang 9 na manggagawang regular isang oras matapos silang
pumasok sa unang shift ng trabaho ng alas-6 ng umaga. Hindi na din pinapasok ang iba pang
natitirang 14 manggagawa na papasok sa mga kasunod na shift. Sukdulan nang tinanggal ng
kapitalistang Philsteel ang kabuuang 55 manggagawang kasapi ng unyon!

Sa patuloy na panggigipit ng kapitalista, itinutulak at wala nang natitirang sandata ang
manggagawa kundi isagawa ang kanyang pinakamataas na pampulitikang pagkilos – ang
WELGA.

Itinirik ng unyon ng manggagawa, sa ilalim ng Philsteel Workers’ Union (PWU-OLALIA-KMU),
ang kanilang picketline sa harap ng kumpanya sa Pulo, Cabuyao nitong tanghali ng Agosto 21,
2012.

CBA Moratorium

Naharap mula nitong Enero 2012 sa pag-uusap para sa panibagong 3-taong collective
bargaining agreement (CBA 2012-2015) ang unyon ng manggagawa at management ng
Philsteel. Abril na lamang naganap ang negosasyon at nagrehistro agad ang management ng
kanilang pusisyon na “CBA moratorium” sa unyon. Nangangahulugan itong walang ibibigay na
karagdagang sahod at benepisyo sa mga manggagawa.

Nang iangat ng unyon ang kasong ito para sa interbensyon ng National Conciliation and
Mediation Board (NCMB-Region IVA), moratorium pa din ang diin ng management. Isinampa
ng unyon ang “notice of strike” sa batayan ng “CBA deadlock” at “unfair labor practice” (CBA
moratorium) noong Hunyo 29, 2012. Subalit sa halip na lutasin ang inihaing kaso ng mga
manggagawa, tinugunan ito ng management ng pagsasampa ng “lockout” o bantang pagsasara
ng pagawaan.

Bago pa man ang negosasyon para sa kasalukuyang CBA, moratorium din ang inihain ng
management sa unyon sa 2-taong CBA noong 2010-2011. Sa kabila nang dinesisyunan ng
Office of the Secretary ng Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) ang CBA na ito noong
Setyembre 23, 2011, hindi ito ipinatupad ng management hanggang sa abutin na ng panibagong
usapin sa CBA, hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

Panunupil sa manggagawa

Sa kasalukuyang CBA, lalong pinalala ng Philsteel management ang sitwasyon nang sumunod
na ngang serye ng tanggalan sa mga manggagawa. Kasunod na tinauhan ng management ng
ilampung gwardya at goons ang loob at labas ng pabrika, minanmanang higit pa sa pagiging
presong nasa “maximum security” ang mga manggagawa sa produksyon, nakipagkutsabahan ng
impluwensya sa ilang elemento ng lokal na pamahalaan, at inilatag ang mala-garisong barikada
sa harapan ng kumpanya. Lantarang pahiwatig ito ng panunupil o deklarasyon ng gyera ng
kapitalista laban sa manggagawa.

Gaya ng inaasahan, walang nagawa ang Office of the Secretary ng DoLE sa pagmamatigas ng
Philsteel management habang wala ding malinaw na solusyong maihapag sa mga manggagawa
sa ilang negosasyong naganap sa ahensyang ito ng paggawa. Hindi na ito bago lalo’t malinaw
sa karanasan ng pakikibaka ng manggagawa ng Philsteel ang pangangasangkapan at kawalang-
pangil ng DoLE laban sa kaisa-isang kagustuhan ng kapitalista – ang magkamal ng tubo at
papalaki pang tubo.

Sama-samang tanggulan, sama-samang tulungan

Sa gitna ng patuloy na krisis ng imperyalistang globalisasyon, manggagawa at mamamayan ang
pangunahing pumapasan ng kahirapan. Makatwirang dagdagan ang sahod at benepisyo ng mga
manggagawa upang makaagapay at makatawid ang kanyang pamilya sa araw-araw.

Isa ang unyon ng mga manggagawa sa Philsteel na may maningning na kasaysayan ng
pakikibaka mula pa noong dekada ’80. Muling hinahamon ng kapitalistang Philsteel, sa
pangunguna ng burgesya kumparador na si Mr. Abeto Uy, ang pagkakaisa at katatagan ng mga
manggagawa.

Mula unang welga noong 1985, nagtamasa ng mga tagumpay sa sahod, trabaho, at karapatan
ang mga manggagawa ng Philsteel bunsod ng nagkakaisang tindig at kapasyahang itaguyod ang
interes ng uring manggagawa. Ngayong 2012, itatala ang ika-pitong welga upang ipagtanggol
ang mga pagpupunyagi ng nakalipas na mga dekada.

Subalit hindi lamang banta sa mga manggagawa ng Philsteel ang kaisa-isang kagustuhan
ng kapitalista. Hamon ito sa buong uring manggagawa. Ang mga hakbang ng pagbawi sa
tagumpay ng mga manggagawa ng Philsteel ay hambalos ng pagbawi sa mga tagumpay ng
buong kilusang paggawa sa Timog Katagalugan.

Higit kailanman, ngayong ang panahon ng pagkakaisa upang magkapitbisig ang manggagawa
at mamamayan sa pagtatanggol ng sahod, trabaho, at karapatan. Ating pagkaisahin ang mga
pagsisikap sa piketlayn, komunidad, at iba’t ibang larangan ng pakikibaka upang ipagwagi at
isulong ang ating mga lehitimong karapatan.

CBA Moratorium sa Philsteel, TUTULAN! LABANAN!
Manggagawa ng Philsteel na iligal na tinanggal, IBALIK!
Sahod, trabaho, at karapatan, IPAGTANGGOL! IPAGLABAN!
Uring manggagawa, HUKBONG MAPAGPALAYA!
Manggagawa at mamamayan, MAGKAISA!

Workers slam Palace, DoLE’s failure to protect workers during calamity

PRESS RELEASE

August 7, 2012 Cabuyao, Laguna – Regional trade union center Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) slams DOLE and Malacañang Palace’s delayed response to protect workers in the midst of calamities.

PAMANTIK-KMU has expressed its utmost disappointment and condemns the Aquino administration’s incompetence in protecting its people amid the three-week long continuous rainfall and floods caused by recent typhoons Ferdie and Gener and present Southwest Monsoon and Shallow Low Pressure Area.

Amid insistent queries, Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalina Baldoz earlier clarified that suspension of work in private companies are not within their authority, and is rather subject to the discretion of the owners.  Malacañang Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda has also announced the same information regarding work in private institutions.  It is only as of 9:40 AM that the palace has finally announced work suspension in private companies in NCR, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan.  By then, many workers have already left their homes and have risked their lives just to come to work.

Alternatively, work and classes in government institutions and agencies, public and private schools have already been suspended beforehand due to the insistent rains and impassable roads as per Malacanang Memorandum Circular No. 33.

Various cities, major roads, commercial and residential areas within the National Capital Region are submerged in flood since early this morning.  In the Southern Tagalog region, lakeside areas and numerous towns in San Mateo and Rodriguez Rizal, Cavite, Batangas, and Laguna such as San Pedro, Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba and Sta. Cruz are also flooded, affecting thousands of families.  Many are reported to be stranded on rooftops.

“While people are obviously struggling to rescue their families and their hard-earned belongings from the floods, DOLE remains incapable of suspending work in private businesses and institutions, leaving the discretion to the profit-hungry capitalists to cancel work in their companies.  This clearly shows that even in the face of evident danger, DOLE is useless and incompetent in saving the lives of the Filipino workers.” PAMANTIK-KMU Secretary-General Wenecito Urgel said.

“Apparently, Aquino and his administration continue to act as capitalists’ lackeys who never cease to turn their backs on the wellbeing of the workers.  If Aquino is sincere in prioritizing his ‘bosses’, he should be more prompt in ordering private companies to cancel work in consideration of the present conditions.  Unfortunately, Aquino is hard-hearted and negligent in attending to the needs of the people during calamities.” Urgel added.

In 2011, Sendong, considered to be one of the deadliest typhoons to hit the country, scored more than a thousand deaths, where the majority was comprised of children and women.  Over 100,000 people were evacuated a few days before Christmas Eve.  During this time when the whole nation mourned over the horrifying catastrophe that hit Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and other nearby provinces, Aquino was reported to be partying with his security group, as tweeted by a certain celebrity.

PAMANTIK-KMU is part of the Southern Tagalog Serve the People Corps, and is calling for financial and in-kind assistance that will be distributed during relief operations in the region.###

150 years of Swiss-Philippine Relations: Nestlé workers protest against injustice

Nestlé workers and the rest of the Filipino workers have nothing to celebrate this year marking the 150 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and the Philippines.

While Swiss diplomats cite Nestlé as example of its commitment to the development of Philippine economy, the 10-year strike in Nestlé Philippines Cabuyao in Laguna tells otherwise.  The Swiss multinational company continuously deprive its workers their rightful political and economic demands since 2002.

Following a strike in 1989, a Supreme Court decision in 1991 ruled the Retirement Benefits of Nestlé employees a legitimate bargaining issue.  However, at the onset of ground rules negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in 2001, Nestlé management refused to include the Retirement Benefits as an item to be discussed in the negotiations. Nestlé management definitely shrugged off the 1991 Supreme Court decision.

It was in defense of the high court’s decision that the Union of Filipro Employees (UFE-DFA-KMU) grounded the legal and moral legitimacy to launch another strike on January 14, 2002. Not excluding the killing of union president Diosdado Fortuna on September 22, 2005, the strike notably suffered violent rounds of dispersals from the hands of company guards, hired goons, the police, and military.

In 2007, the Supreme Court issued another order reaffirming its 1991 decision on the Nestlé labor dispute.

The Nestlé workers, in the course of their strike never failed to call the attention of the Swiss government thru its embassy in Manila in the hope that their demands be heeded.  However, just like Nestlé, the Swiss authorities rebuffed to move an inch for the Filipino workers.

Nestlé’s defiance on Supreme Court rulings and its persistence to employ repression brought about the worse economic conditions to the 600 workers and their families.  Contrary to what the Swiss authorities say, Nestlé did not contribute to the development of the Philippine economy.  While it fails to abide by its so-called corporate social responsibility, Nestlé is solely interested itself in gaining profit, blatantly turning its back on workers’ demands, even in the face of the law. More importantly, the Swiss multinational company blemished and marred Swiss-Philippine relations.

As the representative of their government to the Philippines, the Swiss Embassy is responsible for all Swiss companies based in the country. Unfortunately, it is only interested in its economic and political gains in its expansion in the Southeast Asian part of the globe.

The Swiss Embassy, in connivance with the Philippine government, has deceitfully paraded positive consequences of its prolonged stay in the country.  But in reality, it has caused nothing but suffering for the Filipino people through Swiss multinational companies that exploit Filipino workers in exchange of profit.  There is definitely nothing worth celebrating with 150 years of exploitation.

Since the official launching of the Swiss-Philippine diplomatic relations in 1848, a growth in the relationship’s ‘scope and depth’ brought economic, business, political, cultural, and social exchanges.  A total of 60 companies from Switzerland have so far invested in the country.  Nestle is one of the longest standing Swiss multinational companies in the Philippines, which is on its 100th year to date.###