Sagara workers decry management’s series of illegal suspensions

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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 . #

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