After a year of struggle: Hoya workers continue fight vs illegal closure

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Lipa City, Batangas – “Hoya’s capitalists have been proven wrong if they think that we will give up that easily after the illegal closure. A year after, we remain steadfast in our legal battles.”

Ian Ordono, President of Kalipunan at Saligan ng Manggagawa sa Hoya Glass Disk Philippines – Independent (KASAMA sa HOGP-Ind) stressed these words during a picket-protest in front of the First Philippines Industrial Park (FPIP), Sto. Tomas, Batangas. April 30, 2015 marks one year after 2,600 workers lost their jobs due to the illegal closure by Hoya Glass Disk Philippines. Before the picket-protest at FPIP in the afternoon, KASAMA sa HOGP-Ind together with the Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) staged a program in front of the Department of Labor and Employment Batangas Office at Lipa City.

Initially, the Hoya management reported alleged profit losses as the primary reason for the closure, but upon the union’s research, this wasn’t true since the company has been amassing at least $10 million profit since 2012. Since Hoya produces lenses for hard drives for big brands such as Seagate, Hitachi, Western Digital, and S Howa Denko, the workers believe it is higly improbable that there is a loss of profit in a market with a high demand. “The real reason behind the illegal closure is union-busting. Now that we have strengthened our ranks and have gained power to demand higher wages, benefits and job security, the management then decides to crush the unity of the workers,” Ordono said. April 25, 2014, less than a week before the said closure, KASAMA sa HOGP-Ind was successful in their union registration at DoLE. The Certification Elections followed on July 31, 2014.

Other than illegal closure and union-busting, KASAMA sa HOGP-Ind filed other cases at the National Labor Relations Commission againt capitalist Hoya such as unfair labor practices, non-payment of 13th month pay and non-payment for sick leave and vacation leave. The workers are expecting a favorable result including reinstatement and payment of back wages.

Meanwhile, PAMANTIK-KMU Chairperson Roque Polido said that the illegal closure of Hoya is only one example of the systematic repression in the Philippine labor force brought about by the Aquino regime’s servitude to his imperialist masters disguised as goodwilling investors. “Instead of being a vanguard for workers, the government even consents violation of workers rights. Especially now that widespread contractualization is implemented, majority of workers are still non-unionized,” Polido said.

“It is saddening that a year after, capitalist Hoya remains unpunished for their crimes to the workers. What do we expect from Aquino who has no accountability to the people and impunity is the common response to grave abuses to the people such as the Mamasapano Carnage, neglect for the Yolanda and Pablo victims and the PDAF and DAP corruption?” Polido added. PAMANTIK-KMU expects thousands of workers to join this year’s May 1 Labor Day protest at Crossing, Calamba. He said that there is a growing number of workers in Southern Tagalog who realize the need to oust Aquino before more anti-worker policies are enforced to the detriment of their ambitions for better working and living conditions.

“Collective action is the key in order to win in our struggle againt oppressive labor practices. The conditon of the next generation of Filipino workers are at stake. We want our children to no longer experience the same kind of society we have today where majority of the people who create wealth remain poor while the few who do nothing take everything,” Polido said. #

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