Cabuyao City, Laguna – Karzai Corp. striking workers were violently dispersed with water cannon, rocks and bottles yesterday after they officially declared they are on strike.
Members of the Ilaw, Gabay at Pag-asa ng Manggagawa sa Karzai – Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture – Kilusang Mayo Uno (IGPAK-OLALIA-KMU) were illegally terminated November 13 while the regular workers and other agency hired/contractual workers remain working at the company.
“We see this as a systematic effort of Karzai Corp. to break and weaken our union. Our union genuinely represents the workers and militantly fights for our rights to just wages and benefits. However, the company is collaborating with the yellow workers federation National Workers Brotherhood (NWB) to divide the workers,” said IGPAK President Jonathan Bulusan.
The workers formed IGPAK to have a union that will genuinely fight for their regularization. They saw the need to have an organization that will advance their democratic rights after a series of suspensions until early this year. During the process of working on the union’s Certification Election (CE), the NWB that only has a chapter at the Calamba plant suddenly had a chapter in the Cabuyao plant and is going to participate in the supposed CE.
“Many of us have worked for the company for up to four years already. We have a constitutionally guaranteed right to be regular workers. But after we were able to register our union at the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), the management has been trying to bribe the members and non-members with “financial assistance” in exchange of their resignation,” Bulusan added.
Bong Perez, Cabuyao plant manager, has been communicating with the workers to convince them to receive the financial assistance. IGPAK-OLALIA-KMU clearly sees this blatant union busting because resignation of the workers, union members or not, will result to their eventual disintegration.
The NWB has put up their picket line in front of Karzai’s entrance second week of October. The “members” are calling to stop forced leave and company closure.
“Based on our sources, the company pays non-workers on a daily basis to maintain the NWB picket. They are people from the nearby communities who are paid to bring confusion and meddle with the labor dispute that should only be between the workers and the company,” Bulusan stated.
“NWB members always intervene whenever we try to block company trucks that might possibly be carrying machines or equipment such as mold press. When there’s labor dispute, this is called runaway shop and is an illegal activity,” Bulusan further stated.
Despite the many issues and problems the Karzai workers are facing, IGPAK members vow to continue the fight for regular employment.
“We were illegally terminated. Before and after our termination, we’ve been continuously fighting for our legitimate and just calls. We may feel physical and emotional exhaustion at times but we remain united and determined to fight for our regularization and contribute to the nationwide fight to put an end to contractualization,” Bulusan ended. ###