Feedmill stevedores slam newly-minted restraining order

As the Duterte administration approaches its first six months in office, more issues on labor rights encroach the workers; and the now-three-month strike in Batangas remains in pending resolution.

Porters on strike at the Soro-Soro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) feedmill in Batangas expressed indignation over the recently-minted temporary restraining order (TRO) from the labor department, which directed the free entry and exit of products and raw materials in the feedmill.

The order, which came from the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), allowed egress and ingress of SIDC products for a span of twenty days. SIDC officials and its legal team have sent their prayer to extend the order indefinitely.

Meanwhile, this only meant more opportunities for SIDC – considered to be the top cooperative in the country – to ignore the calls of the workers for regularization. The porters were employed for years in DCMM Manpower Services, a labor agency confirmed to be doing illegal labor-only contracting and was given a cease-and-desist order by DoLE weeks ago.

The last dialogues among workers and SIDC management only prompted the latter to offer the workers to be regularized inside the DCMM agency, which has not updated its permit for almost three years now.

The militant regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU, which supported the strike of the stevedores at SIDC, called on the labor department to side with the workers.

“DoLE must draw the line between appeasing big businesses like SIDC and in responding to the needs of its workers. The former only loses business capital; the latter, potentially loses their livelihood,” said Allan Bagas, PAMANTIK-KMU secretary-general.

“The NLRC order also means the eventual permit for the private goons – or scoundrels – of SIDC to terrorize the workers in hopes of dismantling the picket line. If NLRC and DoLE would want to have industrial peace, it must begin so by forcing the SIDC management to sit down and discuss thoroughly, and not use brute force to settle disputes,” he added.

Just earlier, 100 policemen arrived at the feedmill, raising fears of dispersal at the picket line, until the NLRC order was served. Prior to this, about 2 recorded cases of dispersal was noted, with one instance had security guards firing warning shots with their service firearms.

Even with these challenges, the workers vowed to carry on with the fight for regularization.

“We know that the hardline capitalists endlessly put their interests near their hearts; an interest obvious in the labor department for the past years. For this, we continue in our march and in our protests to end contractualization,” ended Bagas. # # #

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Tagumpay ng LNMSMPIC-Ind., tagumpay ng patuloy na pagtataguyod ng tunay, palaban, makabayang unyonismo!

DSC_0225Ipinapaabot ng Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) ang pinakamaiinit na pagbati sa unyon ng manggagawa sa Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corporation (SMPIC), ang Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corporation – Independent (LNMSMPIC-Ind, o LAKAS) sa kanilang pagtatagumpay sa certification elections nitong ika-30 ng Setyembre.

Nakakalap ng 151 boto ang LAKAS laban sa 114 boto para sa dilawang unyong Samahan ng Manggagawa sa SMPIC- National Mines and Allied Workers’ Unions (SAMASA-NAMAWU) at 2 botong no to union.

Natatangi ang tagumpay na ito ng mga manggagawa ng Sagara. Sinagupa nila ang sabwatan ng kapitalista, NAMAWU, Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) at maging si BS Aquino – na nilayong basagin ang nabuong pagkakaisa ng mga manggagawa. Noong ika-8 ng Abril, sa araw ng dapat na certification election sa SMPIC, naglabas ng isang memorandum ang BLR upang isuspinde ang eleksyon. Ito ay dahil nagsumite ng apela ang NAMAWU sa Office of the President ukol sa kahilingan ng LAKAS para itayo ang tunay na unyon ng manggagawa. Tila, sa isang iglap, ang higit isang taon nilang pagsisikap na itayo ang unyon ay pawang mapupunta na sa pagkabigo.

Ngunit sa halip na masiphayo at sumuko, lalo pa silang naging pursigidong itatag ang nag-iisang samahang magtataguyod ng kanilang karapatan at kagalingan. Sa labas ng pagawaan, sinugod at kinalampag nila ang mga panrehiyon at pambansang opisina ng Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) at BLR sa pagsisikap na panatilihing pabor sa mga manggagawa ang kanilang ilalabas na desisyon.

Sa loob naman ng pagawaan, nagsagawa sila ng malawakang pagpapaliwanag sa kapwa manggagawa upang ipaintindi ang marangal at mahusay na pagsisikap ng LAKAS na itaguyod ang kanilang interes. Makailang beses ring nagsagawa ng sama-samang pagkilos ang LAKAS; na bukod sa nagpaliwanag ng kanilang mga mithiin, ay sinalubong at pinabulaanan ang mga ipinakakalat na kasinugalingan at pananakot ng kapitalista. Hindi rin sila nagpatinag sa mga sunod-sunod na suspensyon sa mga manggagawa dala ng management. Wala ni isa sa mga naging biktima ng pagpapakalat ng black propaganda, panunuhol at unfair labor practices ang natinag sa mga pakanang ito ng kapitalista – kundi lalo pang nagpalitaw sa kanilang kaliwa’t kanang desperadong aksyon upang pahinain ang kanilang pagkakaisa.

Napatunayan na ng mga manggagawa ng SMPIC ang kanilang nais na magtayo at magtaguyod ng tunay nilang unyon. Naging alipin ang mga manggagawa ng SMPIC sa barat na sahod at kadusta-dustang kondisyon sa paggawa sa loob ng SAMASA-NAMAWU. Sa loob ng labing-isang taon at tatlong collective bargaining agreement, halos P180 lang ang kabuuang nakamit na dagdag-sahod ng mga manggagawa. Bukod pa rito ang pagdadamot ng pederasyong NAMAWU sa kanila ng tulong-legal at pinansyal, at pagsasawalang-bahala ng pederasyon sa kapakanan ng mga manggagawa. Kung tutuusin, walang kabuluhan ang kanilang nakamit sa loob ng NAMAWU.

Nagbunga naman ang kanilang nagkakaisa at sustenidong pagsisikap upang maitayo ang unyong wagas na magsisilbi sa kanilang interes. Magiting at mabangis nilang hinarap ang mga pagsisikap ng sabwatan ng kapitalista at dilawang unyon – at tunay nga, hindi nagtagumpay ang maitim na balak ng sabwatang ito. Inanunsyo na matutuloy ang CE sa ika-30 ng Setyembre.

Sa huling mga minuto, ninais pa ng kapitalista at ng dilawan na wasakin ang pagkakaisa ng manggagawa: naglunsad sila ng mga magagarang pagtitipon, pagsuhol, at mga pagbabanta at paninira sa sinumang boboto ng “YES” sa LAKAS. Napunta rin sa wala ang tangkang ito – tumatangis sa resulta ng CE ang boses ng mga manggagawa sa SMPIC.

Ang pagtatagumpay ng pagtaguyod ng tunay na unyon sa loob ng SMPIC ay hindi lamang tagumpay ng mga manggagawa roon – kundi isang halimbawa para sa lahat ng mga regular na manggagawa upang itayo na ang isang samahang tatangan ng kanilang interes sa loob ng pagawaan. Sa loob ng tunay, palaban at makabayang unyonismo, lubos na makakamit ng mga manggagawa ang kanilang karapatan para sa nakabubuhay na sahod, maayos na kondisyon sa paggawa, at iangat pa ang kabuhayan ng iba pang mga manggagawa sa kanilang paligid. Ngunit, isa rin itong hamon para sa mga manggagawa. Hindi kailanman matitinag ng kahit anumang maitim na pahayag, malaking salapi o panlilinlang ang mala-bakal na paninindigan ng mga manggagawa sa kanilang nais na depensahan ang kanilang karapatan.

Bukod pa, ang tagumpay ng mga manggagawa ng SMPIC ay magbubukas na rin ng panibagong mga kabanata. Matapos ang labing-isang masalimuot na taon, malilikha na nila sa wakas ang maka-manggagawang collective bargaining agreement, na buong pagtitiwalang kanilang itataguyod din at ipaglalaban.

Sa diwa ng tunay, palaban at makabayang unyonismo, atin ding maatim na hindi na lamang sa usapin ng CE o CBA matatapos ang laban ng mga manggagawa. Bilang alipin ng isang sistemang atrasado at bulok, nasa mithiin na rin ng mga manggagawa ng SMPIC, kasama ang iba pang mga tagapagtaguyod ng tunay na unyonismo, ang pagpapalaya hindi lamang sa kanilang uri – kundi ang mismong pagpapalaya ng lahat ng mga inaalipin at dinurustang mamamayan sa buong bansa, at kahit sa buong mundo. ###

Sa patuloy na kawalan ng tugon ni Baldoz:  Protest camp, itinayo sa harap mismo ng DoLE! 

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Intramuros, Maynila – Isang protest camp ang itinayo sa harap mismo ng Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) dahil hindi na masikmura ng mga manggagawa mula sa Timog Katagalugan ang kawalang pakialam ni Rosalinda Baldoz.

Matagumpay na naitayo ang protest camp o kubol sa harap ng DoLE sa ganap na 5:00PM ngayong July 13, bilang pagpapakita ng disgusto ng mga manggagawa sa patung-patong na mga kasong nakabinbin sa nasabing ahensiya.

Ani Roque Polido, tagapangulo ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU), pangunahing pumapatay sa kabuhayan ng mga manggagawa ngayon sa bansa ang malawakang kontraktwalisasyon. “Hindi kailanman nagkaroon ng hakbang si Baldoz upang resolbahin ang malalim na ugat ng kahirapan ng sektor ng paggawa, kasama na ang kawalan ng kaseguruhan sa trabaho, mababang pasahod at kawalan ng benepisyo naming mga manggagawa,” saad ni Polido.

Napapanahon umano ang pagtatayo ng protest camp dahil na rin sa mga hindi naibibigay na hinaing ng mga manggagawa sa mga sonang industriyal sa Laguna: partikular sa Tanduay, Sagara, Karzai, Fuji at marami pang iba.

“Magdadalawang buwan na kaming nakawelga ngunit nananatiling hilaw ang desisyon ng DoLE sa aming regularisasyon. Malala pa dito, walang hakbang ang Tanduay management na ipatupad ito. Nasaan ngayon ang DoLE na siyang dapat nagtatanggol sa amin?” tanong ni Anse Are, tagapangulo ng Tanggulang Ugnayan Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA).

Simula pa noong Mayo 18 ay ipinutok ng mga manggagawang kontraktwal ng Tanduay sa Cabuyao ang kanilang welga upang ipanawagan ang regularisasyon. Naglabas nitong June 22 ang DoLE Region IV-A ng kautusan sa management na dapat na silang i-regularisa subalit 103 lamang ito sa kabuuang 397 manggagawang kontraktwal o 90% ng lakas-paggawa sa Tanduay. Patuloy na “nakasaad lamang ito sa papel” at nakabitin sa walang-katiyakan ang desisyong ito.

Samantala, matapos ang higit isang taon ng pagsunod sa rekisitos ng pagbubuo ng unyon – pagdurog sa kanilang unyon at malawakang kontraktwalisasyon rin ang problema ng mga manggagawa ng Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corp. Noong Abril 8 ay arbitraryong ipinatigil ng kautusan ng Malacañang ang kanilang Certification Elections. Makailang ulit na silang naghain ng reklamo sa DoLE at nagrehistro ng protesta rito subalit walang usad ang kanilang kalagayan.

Panggigipit naman sa Collective Bargaining Agreement ang nararanasan ng unyon ng Fuji Electric Philippines, samantalang matagumpay mang nakabalik sa trabaho ang iligal na tinanggal sa Karzai Corp. ay patuloy ang panganib na matanggal dahil sa kontraktwalisasyon sa kanilang pagawaan.

“Ilan lamang ito sa garapalang pagyurak sa karapatan ng mga manggagawa sa aming rehiyon, at ito’y hindi nalalayo sa nangyari sa mga manggagawang kontraktwal ng Kentex na walang hustisiya dalawang buwan na ang nakararaan,” ani Polido.

Ani Polido kasama ang mga iba’t ibang manggagawa, patikim lamang ang nabanggit na protest camp sa nagkakaisang hanay at lakas ng mga manggagawa at mamamayan sa darating na huling State of the Nation Address ni Noynoy Aquino. Bagama’t may banta ng dispersal mula sa security guards at kapulisan ay desidido silang pagtibayin ang hanay hangga’t hindi humaharap si Baldoz at makipag-usap upang tunay na makatulong sa mga manggagawa.

“Kung patuloy na magbibingi-bingihan ang rehimen sa aming hinaing, ang maidudulot lamang nito ay ang paglakas ng sama-samang pagkilos ng mamamayan upang mailantad at patalsikin ang rehimen at sa kalaunan ay palitan ang bulok na sistemang hindi kailanman nagsisilbi sa mga manggagawa,” saad ni Polido. #

Before Aquino’s last SONA: Southern Tagalog workers intensify protests against contractualization

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Months without resolutions on labor disputes concerning contractualization, union-busting and unfair labor practices, workers from Southern Tagalog stage a series of protests starting today, to intensify their calls and to condemn the Aquino government’s anti-worker policies.

These protests are expected to strengthen nearing the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Noynoy Aquino on July 27. “More lies will again be said about the supposedly straight path to progress of our country, yet it remains as a reality that the condition of Filipino workers have worsened under poverty due to Aquino’s adherence to neoliberal programs,”  Roque Polido, Chairperson of Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) said.

Merging with other workers from the National Office of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), around a hundred workers from various factories of the region staged a protest march and program at Mendiola Bridge today. A protest camp was also set-up in front of the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to pressure Rosalinda Baldoz to at once make a decision in favor of the workers demands.

Amidst the order released last June 22 by the DoLE Region IV-A Office to regularize 103 contractual workers of Tanduay Distillers Inc. in Cabuyao, Laguna, the Tanduay management has no move to do so. Tanduay workers have been on strike for nearly two months since May 18 and have experienced numerous human rights violations due to dispersal attempts by security guards and hired goons of the Asia Brewery compound. Working for 5 to 11 years, 90% or 397 of their workforce were employed illegally under the scheme of Labor Only Contractual (LOC).

“Richard Teng and Lucio Tan remain deaf and defiant even to the rule of law. It seems that they are finding ways to reverse the decision or fully ignore it. The government must implement sanctions on Tanduay management’s inaction. We demand that we be regularized at once!” Anse Are, President of Tanggulang Ugnayan Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA) said.

Meanwhile, Sagara Metro Plastics Industrial Corporation, a factory of auto-parts located in Calamba City, are also experiencing widespread contractualization. 60% or 400 of their workers are contractual. The workers are also repressed from forming a genuine union when their Certification Elections were arbitrarily cancelled by a Malacanang order last April 8. “This is why exploitation by big capitalists becomes a norm in our country – the Aquino government has a direct hand in crushing the organized efforts of workers to unionize and fight for their rights,” Polido said.

Other factory workers such as the Karzai Corporation in Cabuyao, through their collective strength have triumphed against the illegal dismissal of 35 of their fellow workers. Their next step was to form a union, through the Ilaw, Gabay at Pag-asa sa Karzai Corporation (IGPAK-OLALIA) that hopes to resolve the 90% or more than 300 employed under LOC.

Similar conditions of contractualization can be observed inside the Manila Cordage Company, also in Calamba City. While unionized workforce from the Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Fuji Electric Philippines face a Collective Bargaining Agreement where only “crumbs” are given to their calls of P80 wage increase and various benefits.

“The local struggles of workers in Southern Tagalog paint a clear picture of how the Aquino regime does nothing but serve the interests of these so called foreign investors through connivance with the local elite and ruling class. Only through the collective struggle of workers and the people can we truly change this rotten system that perpetuates under Aquino’s rule and even beyond his term. We expect nothing new from Aquino’s last SONA – only the rage of the people replenished from his five years of disservice,” Polido said. #

Workers to Tanduay management: “Implement DoLE’s order to regularize contractuals immediately!”

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CABUYAO, LAGUNA – “The regularization of Tanduay workers still only exists on paper.”

Anse Are, President of Tanggulang Ugnayan Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA), stressed these words as more than a week after, the Tanduay management has not yet implemented the regularization of the contractual workers – as directed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Region IV-A through an Order released last June 22.

Are also declared that the strike, on its 45th day today, will continue to be staged for as long as the demands of the workers are not met – which is regularization not only of the 103 as stated in the Order, but all 397 of the contractual workers.

Though TUDLA welcomes the decision of DoLE Region IV-A, Are said that there are two-sides that have to be considered. “On one hand, DoLE’s declaration is a concrete victory brought by the collective action of workers and other sectors who supported the strike. Not only is it a historical feat, but an inspiration for all contractuals to persevere in organizing their ranks and fight against contractualization,” Are said.

“On the other hand, DoLE’s order is also divisive, expecting us to give up the fight once only 103 or 26% of us are regularized when we clearly stand for all of our fellow contractual workers,” he stressed. Are also feared that Tanduay management will ignore this Order all throughout, as witnessed during the labor disputes of other Lucio Tan group of companies – such as the Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees’ strike on 2011. The PAL strike was smeared with reversal of decisions by the Supreme Court which ultimately led to the termination of 2,600 employees.

“The fight is far from being over, and Lucio Tan as a notorious capitalist will definitely appeal to other government offices to take away our hard-earned legal victory. We will continue to stage our strike and call for the people’s support in defending our picket line and boycotting all Tanduay products,” he said.

Ariel Velasquez, Chairperson of the Liga ng mga Manggagawa Para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (LIGA), stressed the need to intensify the campaign in ensuring that the Tanduay workers are regularized. “Only through the people’s unwavering support can we pressure both government agencies and private companies to respect and uphold the rights of the working class,” he said.  ###

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 . #

A CALL TO THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE WORLD: BOYCOTT TANDUAY PRODUCTS!

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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.

WE THEREFORE CALL ON ALL FILIPINO PEOPLE AND PEOPLE’S AROUND THE WORLD TO BOYCOTT TANDUAY PRODUCTS!

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!

BOYCOTT ALL TANDUAY PRODUCTS!
REGULARIZE THE 397 CONTRACTUAL WORKERS OF TANDUAY!
END CONTRACTUALIZATION!

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

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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. #

Uphold the dignity of Filipino workers! End contractualization!

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For two weeks now, we have witnessed the tragedy that razed 72 of our fellow Filipinos. The details that unfolded seemed already familiar, resembling that of the supertyphoons Yolanda and Pablo – when the victims were helpless to their fate, devoured by the flames that turned them into ashes along with the Kentex factory. But one by one the unrecognizable faces had names, fire turned into tears as families cried out their conditions inside the workforce. Investigations exposed the culprits – that this is not a mere tragedy, but a systemic neglect deeply rooted to our social ills as a struggling nation. With the death of the Kentex workers, it has never before been clearer: in a country dominated by industries cloaked as “aid from foreign investors” – there is no genuine respect for the labor force.

The Department of Labor and Employment headed by Rosalinda Baldoz and the government of Noynoy Aquino are not mere “observers” and “commentators” to this crime – they are the real masterminds as to why the conditions lead to the death of the 72. The crime of legalizing contractualization has been in operation for decades, since the birth of the Herrera Law during Cory Aquino’s term. Now, her son perpetrates and even worsens the problem, where every factory is a danger zone for workers. If not to be killed due to the lack of respect for Occupational Health Standards, workers are slowly dying caused by meager wages, loss of benefits, and no job security.

Workers, who are the heart of our economy, deserve to be treated better. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Consecutive administrations have done nothing to improve the lives of the workers, but only served the interest of foreign and local capitalists. Indeed, there can never exist a world where corporate profit-making is maximized without taking away the wealth supposedly given to the toiling masses. Contractualization has not only tied the majority of the Filipinos in the chains of poverty, it has also stunted the potential of our labor force. Contractualization has become a norm – an idea that we can make do with what we have without realizing that the elite few exploit us more when we have the right to demand for what is fair.

These are precisely the same reasons why contractual workers are learning to organize their ranks and fight for better working conditions. The ongoing strike of the 397 contractual workers of Tanduay Distillers Inc. calling for regularization is a historic feat. Tanduay workers have been employed for 5 to 11 years, and yet no significant improvements were made by the management. It showcases the nature of workers to collectively resolve things – only through a militant and principled manner. The strike which started last May 18 gives hope for all contractual workers throughout the country, that there is a weapon that can be used to defend their rights when company owners like Lucio Tan tramples on their livelihood. As of press time, 50 workers and supporters have already been injured by Lucio Tan’s hired goons dressed as security guards.

Not only in Tanduay Distillers Inc. but throughout Southern Tagalog, 70% to 80% of the total labor force remain contractual. With companies like Karzai Corporation, Sagara Metro Plastic Industrial Corp. and Manila Cordage Corp. in Laguna alone, majority of contractual workers are already rising to the challenge of forming organizations leading to a genuine, militant and anti-imperialist union.

We expect that in the coming months, company owners will do everything necessary to preserve their interest for profit. But repression and violence can never stop the workers’ strength and just cause.  We therefore call Filipinos from various sectors to support us.

Let us put an end to contractualization as a first step in upholding the dignity of the Filipino workers!

 

Small step to victory: DoLE Region-IV exposes Tanduay management’s “non-compliance to Labor Code”

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CABUYAO CITY, LAGUNA – Cheers from the picket line were heard today when Tanduay workers on strike celebrated a small step to victory as the National Conciliation Mediation Board (NCMB) released the results of Department of Labor and Employment inspection stating the Tanduay management’s “Non-compliance with Department Order No. 18-A, series of 2011”.

The good news came as the workers at the picket line welcomed their fellow workers who came back from a protest action with Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, and other sectoral groups who trooped to the Department of Labor and Employment in Intramuros, Manila., Mendiola and the International Office of Tanduay Distillers, Inc at Makati City earlier today.

Anse Are, President of the Tanggulang Ugnayan Daluyang Lakas ng Anakpawis sa Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA) said that this is a solid basis for proving that Lucio Tan practices the illegal Labor Only Contracting (LOC). In a 5-page document addressed to all parties including the Tanduay management and the agencies of Global Skills Providers Multi-purpose Cooperative and HD Manpower Service Cooperative, DoLE stated that the basis for non-compliance are:

a. Supervision and Control – Employees of the Service Cooperatives were directly reporting to the Supervisor of the Tanduay Distillery, Inc.,” and,

b. Work Assignment – Employees of the Service Cooperatives were assigned at the production area which is necessary in the operation of the Principal’s business”

“DoLE has yet to expose that the tools and equipment are owned by Tanduay management and not from the agencies. We urge the officials to be thoroughly honest with their report,” Are said.

Added to the indicated violations from the management were the “non-payment of five days Service Incentive Leave Pay” and “Unauthorized deduction of medicines, uniform and Personal Protective Equipment”. Several issues on Occupational Safety and Health Standards were also reported.

“We shall not let ourselves turn complacent because of this legal victory. We know that Lucio Tan and the Tanduay management will do everything they can to manipulate the legal system. Or even if we win legally, they may still become adamant to our demands for regularization. The NCMB result will further fuel our strike in the next days until concrete victory is attained,” Are stressed. He added that the management has yet to be held accountable for the numerous human rights abuses made by hundreds of hired goons who have attempted to disperse them through violence.

Tanduay workers have been on strike for 10 days now calling for the regularization of 397 workers employed as contractuals for 5 to 11 years. ###