Three hundred and sixty-one long-standing contractual workers of two sweatshops, located in one of the Philippines’ export-processing zones (EPZs), launched a strike last May 4th to call for their immediate regularization and recognition of their union.
Many have been contractuals from five to eight years. Their minimum wage has remained low at P315 per day without any benefits. Several workers have accidentally cut their fingers but received no medical assistance from the companies. The capitalists do not remit the wage deductions for government-mandated benefits SSS, Pag-ibig and PhilHealth.
The continuous hiring and re-hiring of contractuals is forbidden even under Philippine laws. Worse, the agencies that employ the workers have been discovered to be fly-by-night. The workers are performing core production functions and should be regularized, as stipulated by Philippine labor laws.
EPZs in the country are notorious for continuously hiring and re-hiring contractuals. The workers’ strike is facing the threat of repression, as EPZs are also notorious for having their own security forces.
Name of companies:
Manila Cordage Company (MCC) and Manco Synthetics Incorporated (MSI)
Abaca and nylon ropes
Skyline, Sunline, Terypro, Dragon Line, Esterline, Manco Ropes, Nyline and Towline
Brgy. Canlubang, Carmelray Industrial Park I, Calamba City, Laguna
MCC: H.L. Health, Howard P. Strickler, Henry S. Mears, James Ross, and Edward E. Selph
MSI: Roberto C. Fernandez, Ricardo V. Camua, Maria Teresa Colayco, Virgilio U. Ibarra and Raymund B. Yangco
Proof of profits: average gross sale of more than P1 billion annually
The companies also illegally deduct for bank charges when transferring wage to the workers’ ATM accounts. There is no provision for personal protective equipment, which makes the working condition more difficult for the workers as the plant requires no air-conditioning.
On May 21, 2015, the workers registered MCC Employees Labor Union and MSI Employees Labor Union at the Department of Labor and Employment. The unions are affiliated with the Organized Labor Association in line industries and Agriculture – Kilusang Mayo Uno. Thus, the names MCCELU-OLALIA-KMU and MSIELU-OLALIA-KMU.
Instead of recognizing the workers’ right to form a union, the capitalists responded with various forms of attacks such as harassment, suspensions and illegal dismissals. A total of 29 workers were illegally dismissed since the union was recognized. The unions conducted their certification elections on January 26 this year; so the workers can have a Sole and Exclusive Bargaining Agent (SEBA) that will negotiate with the capitalist for wage increase and benefits.
The capitalists, however, deny that they have an employee-employer relationship with the contractuals. They insist that the workers are employees of the two manpower agencies Alternative Network Resources (ANR) and WorkTrusted, which have been found as Labor Only Contracting (LOC) agencies. LOCs are illegal because they violate the requirements stipulated in the Department Order No. 18-A.
The workers remain determined in their stand to push the MCC and MSI capitalists to regularize them and recognize their unions as SEBA.
We are calling on workers and people in the Philippines and abroad to support the just fight of the MCC and MSI workers. Let us show our support to the MCC and MSI workers in various forms.
The workers and their supporters will appreciate any material and financial support. The workers who keep production paralyzed need three sacks of rice a day to survive or an equivalent of P6,000.00 every day.
Regularize MCC and MSI workers!
Recognize the unions!
#EndContractualization #RegularizeMCCMSIWorkers #RegularizeContractualWorkers