Southern Tagalog labor center Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) called for the ouster of Department of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz saying that she is nothing but a “killer of contractual workers” and a “lapdog of capitalists like Lucio Tan!”
This is in lieu of Baldoz’ cover-up on her accountability during the razing of the Kentex factory which killed 72 workers. Roque Polido, Chairperson of PAMANTIK-KMU said that Baldoz is now a “big show-off” in terms of calling for compensation to the families of the Kentex victims when in reality, she is primarily responsible for the labor policies that brought the conditions of the tragedy. “The 72 should still be alive today if not for the widespread legalized contractualization that Baldoz’ further implemented under her term,” Roque said. He stressed that due to Department Order (DO) 18-A, companies have flushed down the drain all their responsibilites for higher wages, benefits, job security, including the issuance of Personal Protective Equipment and Occupational Health and Safety protocols inside factories. The use of DO 18-A became the norm for most companies now to employ Labor Only Contracting (LOC) through various sub-contracting agencies. “When sub-contractual labor was allowed, DoLE pronounced a death sentence for the Filipino workforce,” Polido said.
The workers trooped to DoLE in Intramuros and Mendiola today in solidarity with the call for justice for the Kentex tragedy. They burned a huge image of Baldoz and Tan symbolizing the two scourges of the Tanduay workers who are on strike since May 18 (10th day today). The groups also held a protest action in front of the Tanduay Business Center in Ayala Ave, Makati City.
Anse Are, President of TUDLA said that PPEs in Tanduay still have to be bought from the company at the expense of an already meager wage of P315. The agencies of Global Skills Providers Multi-purpose Cooperative and HD Manpower Service Cooperative also deduct absurd fees from the workers during pay day such as a “death fund” of P50 (even if they haven’t had a co-worker who died) and practice delayed release of wages.
Are condemned the continuous attempts of Lucio Tan’s army of hired goons dressed as security guards to disperse their picket line in front of the Asia Brewery Compound in Cabuyao. To date, 50 workers and supporters have various cases of injuries due to constant violence from the goons such as stones and glass bottles being thrown at them and water cannon fired at them by the company fire truck. One worker had a fractured foot when a stone thrown by the hired goons hit him.
“Our call is simple, regularize all 397 contractual workers since we have served Tan for years and yet why do we still remain poor while he rakes net sales of P10 billion to P12 billion for the previous two years?” Are added. He urged his fellow contractual workers, who also comprise 90% of the workers in the factories inside the Asia Brewery Compound, to join their strike to strengthen the call for regularization.
In connection, Ariel Velasquez, Chairperson of the Liga ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay said that LOC which is illegal under the Labor Code, is practiced by majority of the companies inside industrial zones in CALABARZON. “Yet Sec. Baldoz does nothing to resolve this. Will she wait for another tragedy like Kentex before she acts like she is genuinely for the interest of the workers?” Velasquez said. In Laguna alone, 70%-90% of the companies are contractual much like Tanduay Distillers Inc. – Manila Cordage Company, Karzai Corp. and Sagara Metroplastics Industrial Corp. are also dominated by contractual workers. The said three companies who have workers who are organizing their ranks have received various forms of threats from the management even if the right to organize and unionize is enshrined by the Philippine Constitution. #