At its first week, the workers of a distillery plant in Cabuyao, Laguna have declared their strike a “historical one”, saying it was inspired by previous strikes of countractual workers and should inspire many more to do so.
According to them, the strike of contractual workers in Tanduay Distillers, Inc. followed the tradition of the the strike in La Tondeña in 1975 and the Coca-Cola contractuals’ strike last 2013.
“For seven days, we experienced a whirlwind of emotions: ecstatic because of the widespread support we now enjoy nationwide, agitated with the principles that bind us, and indignant of the capitalist Lucio Tan’s spreading of violence against us,” said Anse Are, president of Tanggulang Ugnayang Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers, Inc. (TUDLA).
The La Tondeña strike shattered the silence of the workers during the Martial Law era, as around 800 workers demanded their regularization. It snowballed into a series of strikes within the country. Meanwhile, the Coca-cola strike in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna last 2013 demanded benefits, wage increases and regularization of forklift operators and drivers which they’ve one in just three days after staging the strike.
Are stressed the difference, saying that strikes and workers’ actions often involved unionized and regular workers; while their strike featured contractuals within a labor association.
Meanwhile, he condemned the proliferation of labor cooperatives like HD Manpower Service Cooperative and Global Skills Providers Multi-Purpose Cooperative that hired through Labor-Only Contracting (LOC), which was one of the primary reasons why the distillery management has not yet given into their demands.
The last hearings at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) had the management reason out that they were only employees of the cooperative and not of the company, which was dismissed by the arbiter.
With the example set by TUDLA, Are then urged contractual workers to unite to defend their rights for better working conditions. He even added that those who concocted such repressive labor conditions will inevitably witness these events.
“This is a phenomena borne by massive repression to the workers of the whole nation. As we have started the flame of dissent against this, we have witnessed the massive support and morale boost that it gave to the workers,” he said.
“We now urge all workers to build their unions and organizations, and dare to struggle for a better future that only we can provide,” ended Are. #