On strike’s 1st month: Tanduay workers pledge to end contractual employment


CABUYAO, LAGUNA – Contractual workers from the Tanduay Distillers, Inc. pledged to end contractual employment after one month on strike. Gathering support from various sectors and workers’ unions within and outside the region, the workers held a program in front of the factory’s gate to celebrate their union’s unwavering stance against unfair labor practices and anti-worker policies in the country.

Workers under the Tanggulang Ugnayan Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA) held a program in front of the factory’s gates in celebration of their unified stance against contractual employment today, as their strike reaches one month since its declaration on May 18.

Despite continuous harassment from Lucio Tan’s hired goons and the beverage giant’s unyielding position towards the workers’ demands, particularly the latter’s regularization, TUDLA remains resolute in their calls.

“To win this fight is a huge victory for all workers in the country, because this is a fight against widespread contractualization and the employment of labor-only contracting, which is a common practice in all workplaces here and abroad. Contractual employment through agencies and cooperatives, to the point of violating labor laws, has become very popular amongst profit-hungry capitalists who wish to cut down on expenses via further lowering labor costs.” Anse Are, TUDLA president said.

“We are practicing our constitutionally-guaranteed right to demand for our long overdue regularization. This is why we continue to stand amidst the physical, emotional, and financial difficulties that we encounter every day since commencing this strike. After all, we have been through worse in our 5-11 years of being in service to Tanduay in exchange of very low wages,” he added.

The majority of workers under the (TUDLA) have been contractual workers in Tanduay through the HD Manpower Service Cooperative and the GlobalPro Workers Cooperative for 5 to 11 years before being illegally dismissed on May 16. As stated in Article 280 of the Philippine Labor Code, they are considered regular employees of Tanduay Distillers, Inc. due to the nature of their employment. The Department of Labor and Employment-Bureau of Labor Relations has recently released the results of their investigation on this matter, upholding the previous claims of TUDLA that Tanduay, in collaboration with the said cooperatives, has been violating the Labor Code all along.

“Contractual employment and other labor flexibilization schemes are slowly killing workers all around the world. Obviously, they are trying to withraw the victories of workers who sacrificed their lives more than a hundred years ago. It is just and right for workers to exhaust all possible ways to defend our rights today, even if it means sacrificing our own lives—to make sure our children, who will be workers in the future, are spared from such inhumane, and greedy practices that capitalists, like Lucio Tan, are implementing.” Ariel Velasque, Chairperson of Liga ng Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay.

The workers burned uniforms from the Global Pro and HD cooperatives as a symbol of their commitment to their fight. #


Sagara workers decry management’s series of illegal suspensions


CALAMBA CITY, LAGUNA – Contractual workers from the Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corp. dennouce the management’s waves of illegal suspensions, saying these are clear attempt to cripple their ongoing struggle for regularization.

The Samahan ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (SAPAREHA), an association of contractual workers in Sagara, has filed to the National Conciliation Mediation Board (NCMB), today, June 17, a motion for Preventive Mediation with regards to the management’s attacks on the worker’s struggle.

SAPAREHA reported that after the group filed a petition for inspection on Labor Only Contracting (LOC) last June 9 – the management deliberately and illegaly suspended 7 of its members for 7 to 15 days. When members held an indignation rally in front of the factory and marched to the nearby communities in response to the illegal suspension, the next day, June 10, the management released a memorandum indicating that 49 more workers were suspended because of “directly participating in rally.”

Joey Balimbing, Chairperson of SAPAREHA, condemned these latest acts of repression by the management and likened it to the state of Martial Law. “Why are we forbidden to even express our disgust for the unfair sanctions on our fellow workers? The SAGARA management fears the potential possibilities our collective mass actions can create,” he said.

Balimbing said that instead of answering their just demands for regularization, the management resorts to silencing their voices. Contractual workers in SAGARA comprise 60% or more than 300 of the total workforce. These workers remain contractual, with a minimum wage of P315, no benefits and job security even after 5 to 7 years of service mainly due to two subcontracting agencies: Conqueror and Blue Chips.

Ariel Velasquez, Chairperson of the Liga ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA), said this is but a systematic approach of companies to instill fear among contractual workers who are learning to fight for their rights. “Article 280 of the Labor Code protects our right to be regularized, yet the Department of Labor headed by Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and the Noynoy Aquino government are only rubber stamps for company owners and do not serve the genuine interest of the Filipino workers,” Velasquez said.

In connection, the workers’ union composed of regular workers, the Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corporation – Independent, filed for a Notice of Strike last May 25. This is in response to the Certification Elections (CE) which has been arbitrarily cancelled through a Malacañang Administrative Order last April 9, which LIGA and SAPAREHA decry as a new maneuver for union-busting . #

Workers’ Birthday Wish for DoLE Secretary: ‘Longer Life—in Jail’


Workers from the Liga ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA) wished DoLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz a “longer life in jail” on her birthday. This came as the labor group, together with striking workers from the Tanduay Distillery Inc., once again expressed disgust over the Baldoz’ outright lack of action to resolve labor disputes in the country.

Tanduay workers under the Tanggulang Ugnayan Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA), who are now on their 25th day since declaring a strike, said that the Labor Secretary has been a mere spectator and has neglected her obligations in the midst of widespread contractualization and obvious employment of different labor flexibilization schemes, as well as evident violation of labor standards particularly in occupational health and safety.

In lieu of this issue, Gabriel Women’s Partylist representatives Emmi de Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan authored a House Resolution for Congress to conduct an investigation regarding the Tanduay management’s Labor Only Contracting (LOC) and various human rights abuses on the workers. Gabriela also filed House Bill 4396 or the Regular Employment Bill which seeks to end contractualization that is already a norm among industrial factories.

The workers from Tanduay are victims of the illegal LOC themselves, who receive a meager P315 in daily wages as ‘part-owners’ of the Global Skills Providers Multi-Purpose Cooperative and HD Manpower Service Cooperative. The said cooperatives employ more than 90% or 397 of the total workforce in the company.

“Despite working directly in the production of Tanduay’s products for 5 to 11 years now, workers under these cooperatives are struggling to live with very low wages, the deprivation of benefits, and the absence of health and safety measures that we should receive. Lucio Tan is, by all means, violating the country’s labor laws, primarily employing widespread contractualization to further boost his profits in expense of the workers’ and their families’ suffering.” Anse Are, TUDLA President, said.

While the Bureau of Labor Relations has already released the results of the DoLE inspection stating that Tanduay has violated the Labor Code, the beverage giant remains rigid, using hired-goons to dismantle the strike by force, and refuses to recognize the contractual workers as their regular employees as stated in the Labor Code’s Article 280.

“This is no different than what other companies and business tycoons implement in their own factories—the denial of regular employment to justify very low wages and withdrawal of due benefits.” He added.

Tan, who owns Tanduay, is the country’s second richest man, with a net worth of P6.1B as of 2015. Henry Sy, who ranks first in the Forbes List of the Richest Filipinos, is also known for his exceptional implementation of contractual employment in all of his businesses. In the Southern Tagalog region, studies show that more than 70%-80% of all workers are contractual, who experience the worst working conditions in terms of compensation and health and safety.

Currently, other factories in Laguna face similar issues on contractualization such as the Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corporation based in Calamba City, wherein 15 contractual workers were suspended last June 9. This happened after the association of contractual workers Samahan Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay have filed a petition for investigation by DoLE on the company’s Labor Only Contracting. 60% of the workers in Sagara at still contractual after an average of 5 years in service. Last April 8, the Certification Elections (CE) filed for by the Sagara workers’ union composed of regular workers, Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corporation – Independent, has been arbitrarily cancelled through a Malacañang Administrative Order. LIGA fears this may be a precedent case for massive union-busting in the country.

Meanwhile, another factory, Karzai Corp. in Cabuyao the workers’ organization Ilaw, Gabay at Pag-asa ng mga Manggagawa sa Karzai Corp. (IGPAK) successfully negotiated the reinstatement of illegally dismissed contractual workers. 90% of the workers in Karzai are contractual and are currently fighting for regularization.

“This crime—the massacre of Filipinos’ livelihood—takes place not only in our region, but in all corners of this archipelago. Just last month, we have witnessed how Kentex workers lost their lives due to the company’s apparent prioritization of profits over their compliance to occupational health and safety standards. As their families wept and sought justice, the DoLE, headed by none other than Baldoz, was consistent in playing spectator.” Ariel Velasquez, LIGA Chairperson, said.

“Like Aquino, Baldoz is fond of playing the blame-game, exempting herself from culpability in crimes committed under her nose, when in fact, her primary role as DoLE secretary is to make sure these companies are abiding by our laws and that our workers’ rights are always at the forefront. Then again, it is obvious that her side is with the employers, and not the workers—and this is why we no longer expect anything from her but further injury. We wish for her a longer life in jail on her birthday.” Velasquez added.

“This wish also goes out to Aquino. His pro-capitalist, anti-worker administration is a death trap for Filipino workers—a road to suffering— especially with the economic Cha-Cha now being baked that will allow 100% foreign ownership in the country. There is definitely no other way to save our jobs and our families but through unified action.” Ended Velasquez.

After today’s press conference at Bagong Alyansyang Makabayan National Office in Quezon City, the workers headed to Makati to hand a letter to the president of the Philippine Stocks Exchange and simultaneously launched a picket protest to pressure companies to boycott Lucio Tan’s businesses while there is a pending labor dispute in Tanduay Distillers Inc. #

LIGA PRESS RELEASE: Sagara workers protest illegal suspension of 15 contractual workers


Contractual workers from the Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corporation (SMPIC) in Calamba, Laguna today held an indignation activity regarding “another wave of violence upon the workers of SMPIC”.

The Sagara management served all the 15 workers 7-day suspensions due to their failure to engage in overtime work.

SMPIC, which has its own special economic zone in the city, produces plastic automotive parts.

“Another case of harassment upon the workers have been recorded yet again, as pressure from the workers have elicited an adverse response from the greedy Sagara management,” said Ariel Velasquez, a contractual worker from SMPIC and chairperson of workers’ alliance Liga ng Manggagawa para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA).

The staggered suspension saw seven workers suspended yesterday, June 9; and now had another 8 suspended today.

As of press time, SMPIC faces protests and legal complaints from the factory’s regular workers for colluding with the company union Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Sagara – National Mines and Allied Workers Unions Local 180 (SAMASA-NAMAWU) and the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) because of the hasty suspension of certification elections of Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa SMPIC – Independent (LNMSMPIC-Ind).

The indignation rally was also joined by regular workers from LNMSMPIC-Ind as they fight to resume certification elections and install a workers’ union that will “truly fight for workers’ rights in the plant”.

“The unity of workers, contractual and regular, is a remarkable sight, since it welcomes the fact that the workers’ struggle should be an expression of the unity of all the workers – be they contractual or regular,” said Velasquez.

SMPIC is also a member of the Yazaki Group of Companies, which has had a “bloody record” with the workers. Two union leaders in the EMI-Yazaki plant in Cavite, Butch Servida and Jerry Cristobal, were killed within their terms last 2008 and 2010, respectively. # # #



Tagumpay ang mga manggagawang kontraktwal ng Karzai sa kanilang laban para sa pagpapabalik sa trabaho ng mga iligal na tinanggal. Sa hearing na inilunsad ngayong araw, Hunyo 9, sa National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), napagkasunduan ng mga nagpoprotestang manggagawa at management na ibalik ang mga manggagawang tinanggal sa trabaho.

“Masaya kami sa paunang tagumpay na ito dahil nagkakaroon na ng bunga ang pagsisikap at pagkakaisa naming mga manggagawa. Dahil sa aming pakikipaglaban, napagtagumpayan naming na makabalik sa trabaho sa Hunyo 15, Hunyo 30, at Hulyo 15. Kasama rin sa napagtagumpayan ang pagbibigay ng bayad para sa panahong tinanggal sa trabaho,” ani Jonathan Bulusan, Pangulo ng Ilaw, Gabay at Pag-asa ng mga Manggagawa sa Karzai – Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture (IGPAK-OLALIA).

Matatandaan na binuo ang IGPAK-OLALIA matapos iligal na tanggalin ang 60 manggagawang kontraktwal mula Enero hanggang Mayo. Ang unyon ay kaanib din ng Liga ng Manggagawa para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA).

“Sa laban naming ito, naging napakahalaga ang pagkakaroon ng isang tunay, palaban at makabayang unyon. Dahil sa diwa ng tunay na unyonismo at sa mga pag-aaral na nagturo sa amin n gaming mga karapatan, naging matibay ang aming paninindigan at matatag ang prinsipyo upang maging matapang sa pakikipaglaban,” ani Jonathan Remos, Pangalawang Pangulo ng IGPAK-OLALIA.

“Hindi pa tapos ang laban. Simula pa lang ito ng pagbawi ng mga karapatan na dapat ay ibinibigay ng kapitalistang Karzai sa amin. Kailangang higit pang magpalakas sa pamamagitan ng mga pag-aaral at pagpaparami ng kasapian upang magtagumpay naman sa pagpapanalo ng tunay na unyon sa haharaping certification election. Mahalaga ito sa pagtatagumpay ng laban para sa regularisasyon ng hanapbuhay,” pagtatapos ni Bulusan. ###

Utak-kriminal ibinabalik sa serbisyo, P117,000 ang sahod;  Mga manggagawa nananatiling dayukdok ang kalagayan!


Mariing kinukundena ng Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) ang muling pagbabalik sa trabaho ni dating PNP chief Gen. Alan Purisima na sasahod pa ng P117,000 kada buwan. Napakalaking agwat nito kumpara sa P315 lamang na minimum na sahod na natatanggap ng mga manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan.

“Hindi na dapat ibalik sa serbisyo si Purisima na isa sa mga utak ng madugong masaker sa Mamasapano. Ngunit sa halip na papanagutin sa napakalaki nitong kasalanan sa sambayanan muli itong ibinalik ni Noynoy Aquino sa serbisyo. Hindi katanggap-tanggap na sasahod ang isang utak-kriminal ng daanlibong piso at malaking bahagi pa ay manggagaling sa buwis ng mga nagpapakapagod na manggagawa.” Ani Allan Bagas, Pangkalahatang Kalihim ng PAMANTIK-KMU.

“Napakadali para sa gobyernong Aquino na ibalik sa trabaho ang mga mapanupil tulad ni Purisima. Ngunit ang 397 manggagawang nagsilbi at nagbigay ng yaman kay Lucio Tan sa loob ng 5 hanggang 11 taon ay nananatiling nakikipaglaban para sa kanilang pagbabalik at regularisasyon sa trabaho. Kasama ang mga manggagawa sa nagpapaunlad ng ekonomiya ng bansa ngunit inutil ang DoLE at ang gobyernong Aquino para tugunan ang kanilang mga pangangailangan at igalang ang kanilang karapatan.” Dadag ni Bagas.

Nasa ika-22 araw na ng welga ang mga kontraktwal ng Tanduay sa Cabuyao, Laguna. Sa loob ng mahigit 3 linggo, pananakot, intimidasyon, harasment, karahasan ang hatid ng mga security guards at private goons ni Lucio Tan. Sa pangunguna ng head ng security ng Asia Brewery na si Noel Abrigo Coballes, dating Lieutenant General at dating Commanding Officer ng Philipine Army, mahigit 50 ng manggagawang kontraktwal ng Tanduay at mga tagasuporta ang nasaktan at nasugatan. Hanggang sa kasalukuyan, hindi rin nakikialam sa labor dispute ang plant manager na si Richard Teng.

“Idagdag pa natin ang kainutilan ng lokal na PNP ng Cabuyao at Sta. Rosa na parehong nagtuturuan kung sino ang may jurisdiction dito at kibit-balikat lamang sa karahasang dinaranas ng mga manggagawa,” saad ni Bagas.

Aniya ang patuloy na pangangalaga ni Noynoy Aquino sa kaniyang mga Kaibigan, Kaklase at Kabarilan at ang paglala ng kalagayan ng sektor ng manggagawa dahil sa malawakang kontraktwalisasyon ay iilan lamang sa malinaw na batayan na hindi na dapat siya patapusin ng termino at patalsikin na bago pa makapanghasik ng mga dagdag na krimen sa taumbayan. ###


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We have witnessed again today the sheer brutality of the capitalist system to its workers – of business tycoon Lucio Tan’s merciless violence to the Filipino people; who offered years of hard work and labor that paved way for him to be one of the few richest in the world.

On the 17th day of the strike led by the Tanggulang Ugnayan Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA), around 300 workers and supporters were ruthlessly dispersed by more than 200 security guards and hired goons of Lucio Tan. The protesters marched from Gate 1 of the Asia Brewery Compound at Cabuyao, Laguna and headed to Gate 3 for an indignation program.

At 5:30PM, the workers decided to carry out an organized dispersal to continue their program at the picket line in front of Gate 2. However, as they were marching back, security personnel and hired goons chased and unleashed violence upon the workers – beating them with metal pipes, throwing stones and bottles. As of press time, around 30 workers and supporters were injured including two others who are seriously injured and were abducted by the security forces: Christopher Oliquino, Vice-Chairperson of PAMANTIK-KMU, Erwin Luicito of Lakas ng Manggagawang Nagkakaisa sa Honda Cars Philippines. Three motorcycles were also dilapidated by the said goons.

This is not the first time that Lucio Tan’s own “private army” resorted to this; for throughout the duration of the strike, 50 workers and supporters were already injured due to similar incidents of aggression. The Department of Labor and Employment of Region IV-A has released results of Tanduay management’s violations to the Labor Code of employing Labor Only Contracting. But still, why is violence Lucio Tan’s sole answer to the just call of the workers aspiring to get a share of their hard-earned labor?
Tanduay workers have been on strike since May 18. They are workers who served tirelessly for Lucio Tan, hoping to improve the future of their families someday. And yet, since 5 to 11 years under the distillery, they still remain in contractual status, with a minimum wage of P315 per day (less than $5), no benefits, and no job security. Who wouldn’t be enraged with this kind of situation when Tanduay Distillers Inc. creates a conservative estimate of P15 million worth of products per day? Who wouldn’t want a fair share when net sales amassed P10 billion to P12 billion in the previous two years?

The 397 workers of Tanduay who comprise 90% of the total workforce only wish for one thing – regularization, which translates to better and rightful wages and benefits. Why is it easier for Lucio Tan to hire hundreds of goons instead of conceding to the workers’ demands? He is then truly blinded by the nature of profit.

In a country where labor rights are blatantly violated by private companies, and the government’s labor departments are more often than not in favor of these big business owners – the workers have no other choice but to collectively struggle for economic justice and ask for the solidarity of the people.


Tell your friends, families, colleagues and everyone who buys Tanduay products to show their support for our just strike. Through boycotting Tanduay products, we can cripple Lucio Tan’s unyielding stance and together bring victory for the Tanduay workers’ demand for regularization!


Karzai workers file Notice of Strike against contractualization, unfair labor practices


In a historic feat to end contractualization, workers from the Karzai Corporation in Cabuyao, Laguna have filed a Notice of Strike (NOS) demanding the reinstatement of illegaly dismissed workers and the immediate regularization of all contractuals.

Karzai workers manufacture autoparts for branded motorcycles such as Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki, as well as assembly parts for Sharp washing machines. Workers set-up aprotest camp in front of the factory since  May 27 to spread awareness among the general public.

Last May 25, the Ilaw, Gabay at Pag-asa ng mga Manggagawa sa Karzai Corporation (IGPAK) filed an NOS at the National Conciliation Mediation Board. The workers demand regularization of 120 workers who comprise 90% of the total workforce including the 60 contractual who were illegally dismissed within several waves starting February 2015, and money claims for illegal deductions.

IGPAK filed for Certification Elections last May 29 after it’s successful Union Registration at the Laguna Provincial Office of the Department of Labor and Employment last May 25.

IGPAK-OLALIA Vice-Chairperson Jonathan Remos said that waves of illegal dismissal happened when they filed a complaint at the Department of Labor last February concerning Unfair Labor Practices. Other than contractualization and illegal dismissal, the list of Unfair Labor Practices filed include: Intimidation and harassment, non-payment of 13th month pay, non-payment of service incentive leave, non-payment of holiday, underpayment of night differential, regular overtime and holiday overtime premium, non-implementation of safety and due process of disciplinary action on worker, non-implementation of Wage Order #16 on Socio Economic Allowances (SEA), non-implementation of night to weekly rest day, and non-payment of rest day overtime.

Karzai Corp. has been employing its workers for 3 to 10 years under Labor Only Contracting (LOC) through subcontracting agences: Career Express, BMS, BMC and 30 other individual subcontractors. They receive a measly wage of P315 with illegal deductions such as uniform fee, ATM fee, and seminar fee among others.

“We are determined to win in our struggle for all workers to end widespread contractualization. May this be an example for workers in various factories to fight for their rights and uphold our dignity as the live-givers of economy,” Remos said.

Ariel Velasquez, Chairperson of the Liga ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay stressed that this, including the ongoing fight of other factories in Southern Tagalog, is a historic event for workers in the country to concretely improve their conditions through collective action. “Contractualization is a norm that the Noynoy Aquino government seems to think that workers have silently conceded to. But Karzai workers and many others prove that the condition inside our labor industry is worsening and must be changed,” Velasquez said.

The Karzai protest camp can be found just a hundred meters away from the Tanduay workers’ picket line, who are on strike on similar issue of contractualization. #

“Aquino’s contractualization real culprit for Kentex fire” ~LIGA  


The Southern Tagalog-based Liga ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA) today slammed Noynoy Aquino’s efforts to save-face his accountability for the Kentex tragedy, stressing that the “government’s widespread contractualization is the real blame for the death of workers.”

Recently, Aquino broke silence on the issue, cleared the liabilities of the Bureau of Fire Protection and turned a blind-eye to the Department of Labor and Employment’s issuance of compliance of occupational safety standards to the Kentex factory.

Ariel Velasquez, Chairperson of LIGA said that the continuing government disregard to workers’ rights in the country pave conditions for similar events to happen. He said that the Kentex fire which killed 72 workers is not an “accident” but a “symptom of an already rotten labor system”.

“Because labor laws such as the Herrera Law are used in favor of companies, factory owners take the advantage to gain more profit at the expense of the workers’ safety – which is most apparent on contractual workers. Because of contractualization, Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) are disregarded, occupational health and safety orientations are not given to workers, and factories become prone to hazardous incidents,” Velasquez said.

He cited the case of contractual workers of Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TDI) now on their 16th day of strike today at Cabuyao, Laguna. 397 of the contractual workers who have been working for TDI for 5 to 11 years now demand regularization because of low wages, absence of benefits and no job security. Velasquez said that the workers commonly get cuts from glass shards from shattered bottles because PPEs still have to be bought from the company instead of being freely provided to them. The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Region IV-A released proof that the TDI management has been practicing Labor Only Contracting through two subcontracting agencies.

“Public clamor is growing to put an end to subcontracting schemes done by agencies and all throughout junk contractualization. Under Aquino’s term, the labor situation in Southern Tagalog worsened with 70%-80% of workers in industrial zones remain contractual,” he said.

LIGA enjoined the efforts of the workers of the Laguna-based factories of Karzai Corp., Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corp., Manila Cordiage Company and many others to fight for regularization as the first step to uplift labor conditions. #

“K to 12 means more years of burden since parents have contractual jobs” –Tanduay workers

DSC_0131CABUYAO, LAGUNA – As elementary and high schools open classes today, workers from Southern Tagalog reiterate their stand in junking contractualization especially since the “K to 12 program means two more years of added expenses for parents who are minimum wage earners.”

This is in light of the ongoing strike of workers in a liquor factory in Cabuyao which started last May 18. Dante Ragasa, Vice President of the Tanggulang Ugnayan Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA) said that their strike which is being staged for two weeks now, is precisely a fight for a better future for their children. TUDLA is calling for regularization of 397 workers or 90% of the workforce who have been working for Lucio Tan for 5 to 11 years and yet still earn a measer wage of P315, receive no benefits and no job security.

Ragasa, father to a 5-year-old boy, woke up at 4:00AM today at the picket line, but instead of doing the usual preparations for today’s program, he headed home for a while to help his wife in preparing for their daughter’s needs since this is his first day in Kindergarten. Ragasa said that the Noynoy Aquino government is heartless both in the education and labor sector – with two additional years for parents to provide school needs while the situation of workers remain dismal due to widespread contractualization.

“The strike is definitely taking its toll to our personal lives, since most of Tanduay workers are the breadwinners. But we will not stop until we have gained economic justice from Lucio Tan. Why is the Tanduay management still not giving in to our demands when families of those who have toiled for them are at stake?” he added.

Within 15 days, Tanduay workers have experienced a series of attempted dispersals from Lucio Tan’s security guards and hired goons injuring around 50 workers and supporters.

In connection, Ariel Velasquez, Chairperson of the Liga ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA), denounced both the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and Department of Education (DepEd) for concocting a program which will clearly lead the Filipino youth to be tied to contractual jobs whether they finish high school or not. The vocational courses offered in senior high school are obviously given to fuel the already rampant contractualization and Labor Export Policy. According to LIGA, contractual jobs under agencies is the norm in Southern Tagalog where 70%-80% of the total workforce in industrial factories remain contractual.

“Here in Laguna, contractual workers in factories such as Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corporation., Manila Cordage Company, and Karzai Corporation are organizing themselves to fight for regularization. Much like the Tanduay workers’ struggle, the workers understand that only through collective strength can their lives improve,” Velasquez said. #