[Filipino Version] Matapos mahuling nandaraya ang DoLE officer, mga manggagawa ng PAC maglulunsad muli ng Certification Elections

Hulyo 30, 2013 Calamba, Laguna – Limang buwan matapos ang maanomalyang Certification Elections sa planta ng Philippine Auto Components (PAC) kung saan nahuling nandaraya sa pamamagitan ng ballot switching si DoLE officer Marivic Martinez, nakatakdang maglunsad muli ng kampanya at eleksyon ang mga manggagawa sa ilalim ng Lakas Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng PAC-Independent (LNMPAC-IND) para sa kanilang kagyat na recognition bilang bargaining agent sa Agosto.

Batay desisyon na inilabas ni DoLE Bureau of Labor Relations Med Arbiter Maureen Zena Tongson noong Hulyo 19, muling naghahanda para sa certification elections ngayong Agosto ang LNMPAC-IND. Inilabas ang paborableng desisyong makalipas ang limang buwan ng mga piket protesta, pagsasampa ng kaso laban kay Martinez, at tuloy-tuloy na kampanya sa hanay nila.

Ayon sa desisyon, “WHEREFORE, premises considered, the formal protest and/or petition to annul the certification election is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Election Officer is hereby ordered to conduct a certification election within ten (10) days from receipt of this Resolution.”

“Muling napatunayan ng LNMPAC-IND na nandaya si Martinez sa nakaraang CE. Ipinapakita lamang ng desisyon na tunay ngang lumalala ang kalagayan ng paggawa sa Pilipinas, kung saan walang humpay na naisasagawa ng mga kapitalista ang kanilang mga anti-manggagawang iskema na suportado ng Department of Labor and Employment, ng kanilang mga batas, at kanilang mga mapanlinlang na sabwatan.” Ani Kristoffer Oliver, Pangulo ng LNMPAC-IND.

Sa kabilang banda, nagpahayag ng pagsuporta sa unyon ang Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU), sentro ng militanteng unyonismo sa Timog Katagalugan. Ayon sa PAMANTIK-KMU, magbibigay daan ang desisyon sa mas malaking pagkakataon ng uring manggagawa sa higit pang pagpapalakas ng kanilang hanay habang pinaglalaban ang kanilang mga karapatan sa sahod, benepisyo, regular na empleyo, at organisasyon.

“Kasama ang mga manggagawa mula sa ibang unyon, ipinakita ng mga manggagawa ng PAC kung ano ang ibinubunga ng sama-samang pagkilos at tuloy-tuloy na paninindigan para sa tunay, militante, at anti-imperyalistang unyonismo. Sa kabila ng sabwatang DoLE at mga kapitalista, lagi tayong may pagpipilian—ang tumindig at ilantad ang mga ito, ipaglaban ang ating mga karapatan, at matibay na pagpasyahan ang pagsusulong ng ating mga adhikaing mapabuti ang mga kalagayan sa loob at labas ng pagawaan.” Ani Wenecito Urgel, Pangkalahatang Kalihim ng PAMANTIK-KMU.

Nakatakdang maglunsad ng mga shift meeting at department meeting ang mga manggagawa ng PAC upang pag-isahin ang kanilang hanay hinggil sa paborableng desisyon, at maghanda para sa matagumpay na certification elections sa Agosto 6, batay sa 10-working day-period na nakalagay sa desisyon.

Mga batayang karapatan bilang katwiran ng mga manggagawa

Sinimulan ng mga manggagawa ng PAC ang pag-oorganisa at pagbubuo ng kanilang unyon noong Pebrero 2012 dahil sa mababang pasahod, ‘di sapat na benepisyo, at kawalan ng kaseguruhan sa trabaho.

“Kalakhan ng mga manggagawa ay nagseserbisyo sa kumpanya sa loob ng 5 hanggang 15 taon, ngunit nakapako pa din sa P350/araw ang sahod—halagang mas mababa sa kalahati ng daily living wage sa rehiyon. Umaabot naman sa 448 ang bilang ng mga kontraktwal sa kumpanya, na mayroong mas masahol na kalagayan sa paggawa at tumatanggap lamang ng P315 kada araw. Ito ay mga lehitimong batayan upang magtayo ng unyon—upang maigiit ang aming karapatan sa buhay na may dignidad, at karapatan sa pag-oorganisa. Dapat tinatamasa ito ng lahat ng manggagawa.” ayon kay Oliver.

Union-busting, unfair labor practices, kumon sa PAC at iba pang suplayer ng Toyota

“Maliban sa direktang kinalaman ng PAC management sa pagtatangkang pigilan ang mga manggagawang itayo ang kanilang unyon, naging kalakaran na sa hanay ng mga suplayer ng higanteng tagayari ng sasakyan na Toyota ang union busting at unfair labor practices. Habang ipinakita ng maanomalyang CE noong Marso 2013 ang isa sa mga pinakadesperado at pinakamaruming aksyon ng DoLE upang hadlangan ang unyonismo, hindi na nakakagulat ang ganitong pangyayari dahil ang Toyota mismo ay kilalang-kilala bilang union bustersa rehiyon.” Ani Urgel.

“Bukod sa pagtutulak sa PAC management na sumunod sa batas at kilalanin ang mga karapatan ng mga manggagawa, maglulunsad ng kampanyang internasyunal ang PAMANTIK-KMU na magtutulak sa Toyota upang mamagitan at itulak ang kanyang mga suplayer na kilalanin ang mga karapatan ng mga manggagawa sa asosasyon at collective bargaining. Isasabay ang kampanyang ito sa dekada nang laban ng mga manggagawa ng Toyota laban sa kanyang mga anti-manggagawang iskema at kaso ng union busting.” Pagtatapos ni Urgel.

Isang kaanib na kumpanya ang PAC ng DENSO Corporation na nakabase sa Japan. Mula March 7, 1995, tuloy-tuloy ang operasyon ng PAC sa Canlubang, Calamba Laguna. Kabilang sa kanilang mga produkto ay mga fuel pump assemblies, meter assemblies, radiator assemblies, clean air filters, spark plugs, at busina na kalakhan ay isinusuplay para sa lokal at internasyunal na produksyon ng higanteng tagayari ng sasakyan na Toyota.###

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After DoLE officer gets caught cheating, PAC workers to hold another Certification Election

July 30, 2013 Calamba, Laguna – Five months after the anomalous certification elections in the Philippine Auto Components (PAC) plant where DoLE Laguna Supervising Labor Executive Officer Marivic Martinez was caught switching ballots, workers under the Lakas Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng PAC-Independent (LNMPAC-IND) are set to hold another round of campaigning and elections for their immediate recognition as bargaining agent in August.

Grounded on the decision released by DoLE Bureau of Labor Relations Med Arbiter Maureen Zena Tongson dated July 19, the LNMPAC-IND is once again geared to undergo certification elections in August. The decision was finally released following five consecutive months of picket protests, filing of charges against Martinez, and continuous campaigning amongst their ranks.

According to the decision, “WHEREFORE, premises considered, the formal protest and/or petition to annul the certification election is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Election Officer is hereby ordered to conduct a certification election within ten (10) days from receipt of this Resolution.”

“LNMPAC-IND has once again proven the veracity of its previous accusation regarding Martinez’ cheating. The decision verifies that there is truth behind the worsening Philippine labor conditions, where capitalists are able to continue their anti-worker schemes with the support of the Department of Labor and Employment, their laws and their underhanded conspiracies.” said LNMPAC-IND president Kristoffer Oliver.

At the same time, militant trade union center in Southern Tagalog Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) expressed its support to the union, saying that this is a huge opportunity for the working class to further strengthen their ranks as they fight for their rights to wages, benefits, regular employment, and organization.

“The workers of PAC, together with workers from other unions, have demonstrated what their unified ranks and unwavering stance to establish genuine, militant, and anti-imperialist unions can do. Despite the connivance between capitalists and the DoLE, we can always stand firm in exposing them, fight for our rights, and resolutely push through with our aspirations in improving our conditions within and outside our workplaces.” Wenecito Urgel, PAMANTIK-KMU Secretary General said.

The workers are scheduled to hold shift and department meetings to unify their ranks regarding the favorable decision, and prepare for a victorious elections certification which is expected to take place in August 6, based on the 10 working day-period stated in the decision.

Our basic rights as raison d’être

The PAC workers began organizing and forming their own union in February 2012 due to low wages, insufficient benefits, and the lack of security of tenure.

“We have been in the company for 5 to 15 years, and yet our salaries are stuck at P350 per day, which is less than half of the daily living wage in the region. The contractual workers in our company, totaling to 448, have worse working conditions and only receive an average salary of P315 a day. These are our grounds for establishing a union—to assert our rights to life with dignity, and our right to freedom of association. These are rights that all workers should enjoy.” Oliver said.

Union busting, unfair labor practices common among PAC and other Toyota suppliers

“Aside from the PAC management’s direct hand in attempting to stop the workers from forming their union, union-busting and unfair labor practices have become a trend among suppliers of giant automaker Toyota. While the anomalous CE in March 2013 showed one of the most desperate and unscrupulous moves of the Department of Labor and Employment to obstruct trade unionism in the region, it is no longer surprising since Toyota itself is a notorious union-buster in the region.” Urgel stated.

“Apart from impelling PAC to follow the law and respect workers’ rights,  PAMANTIK-KMU will launch an international campaign urging Toyota to intervene and oblige its suppliers to recognize workers’ rights to association and collective bargaining. This campaign will simultaneously happen with the decade-long campaign against Toyota’s anti-worker schemes and union busting case.” ended Urgel.

PAC is an affiliate company of DENSO Corporation based in Japan. Since March 7, 1995, PAC has operated in Canlubang, Calamba Laguna Philippines. Products range from fuel pump assemblies, meter assemblies, radiator assemblies, clean air filters, spark plugs, and horns which are mainly for giant auto-maker Toyota’s local and international productions.###

DoLE officer caught cheating, attempts to defeat union in certification election

In one of Philippine labor’s revealing truths, a regional election officer of the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR-RAB-IVA), a branch of the Department of Labor and Employment, was caught cheating in a certification election held in Laguna today, March 22, 2013.

Election officer Marivic B. Martinez, Supervising Labor Executive Officer of the DoLE Laguna Provincial Office (LPO), was supposedly facilitating a clean and honest union certification election in Philippine Auto Components, Incorporated when workers caught her slip from her pocket a roll of ballots she switched right before vote counting was concluded.

Union poll watchers Omar Legaspi and Roman Dave Gecolea narrated that Martinez made it appear that a ballot dropped on the floor.  When Martinez picked it up, she then switched it for a bunch of ballots that contained the “NO” votes.  Legaspi and Gecolea immediately exposed the situation.  Martinez, in an attempt to cover-up the cheating, threw the ballots, numbering to about 30.

“We felt betrayed by what we saw.  We cannot believe that a DoLE officer like Ms. Martinez will commit such kind of dastardly act to defeat our election,” said Legaspi.  “We are only fighting for our right to have a union inside our workplace.  It is our constitutional right, but why is DoLE preventing us from getting that right?” Legaspi added.

Martinez expectedly denied the cheating and said that the said ballots she was holding were cast by a batch of workers.

“The official ballots cast are folded in three.  Surprisingly, those which came from Ms. Martinez are rolled,” added Legaspi.

Legaspi, a union board member, expressed disbelief to have 30 ballots at one instance, when only 8-10 ballots are cast in every batch of voters.  He also said that before the incident, Martinez prodded them to leave the area despite them being registered election poll watchers.

The cheating involving DoLE election officer Martinez is the height of election irregularities in PAC.

Meanwhile, the militant regional trade union center Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) condemns the anomalies facilitated by DoLE itself in the PAC certification election.

“Once again, and more blatantly, DoLE has proven its pro-capitalist and anti-worker character.  We cannot help but think that such kinds of dirty tactics could have also been done in other certification elections leading to the workers’ loss of their unions in Daiho, Honda Parts, F-Tech, UTT, and many others in Laguna, all of which involving Martinez as election officer,” said Hermenegildo Marasigan, PAMANTIK-KMU spokesperson.

“We have filed cases at DoLE regarding questionable certification election results in the past, but up to now, the DoLE continues to just sit down on the complaints.”

“Martinez’ act proves the countless allegations against DoLE being a cohort of the capitalists in union-busting and instituting a union-free environment.  We are demanding that Martinez be impeached or removed from office.  This is clearly a conduct unbecoming of a labor official.”

“This kind of dirty tactic is reminiscent of the “dagdag-bawas” (add and shave) happening at the national and local election.  Clearly, corruption is rampant even at the lower level of government branches,” Marasigan continued.

PAC supervisor “kidnaps” two workers

In a related incident, the workers said the management employed various tactics to sabotage the union election and dissuade workers from voting for a union inside the company.

Night before the elections, the union reported that a “kidnapping” incident was committed by Quirino Abraham Cruz, a supervisor in PAC.

Cruz forcibly took union members Abby Toledo and Rose Ann Balaaldia to ride on his car instead of boarding the shuttle, after coming out from their work at around 7:30pm.  Out of fear from Cruz, the two workers were obliged to follow his orders.

When the union learned of the incident, they immediately dispatched a team to rescue the two workers.  They were able to stop the car in Parian, Calamba City, just minutes away from the factory.  The workers asked the assistance of a police who happened to be at the vicinity.  The police asked Cruz to roll down his window and saw that the two women workers were there.  When asked if they are forced to go with Cruz, the workers who were in a state of shock cannot even answer.

Cruz and the two women were brought to the Calamba City Hall.  There, a certain SPO1 Reyes brought the two workers inside a room and talked with them in a closed-door session.  Prior to this, Jong Arcilla, a head supervisor in PAC talked with Reyes.  After the closed-door meeting, the two women refused to talk anymore about the incident.

Outside the station, the two women confided that they were told by SPO1 Reyes that kidnapping is a serious case and that if they pursue it, their work and even their families will be affected.  Out of fear, the two women opted not to testify about the incident.

The union filed a police blotter of the incident.

PAC manufactures car parts and supplies it mostly to Toyota.  Located at Carmelray 1 Industrial Park in Canlubang, Laguna, it has 1,122 workers, of which 601 belongs to the rank and file workers.  The average wage is PhP 340-350 for pioneer workers, just slightly higher of the region’s minimum wage of PhP 337.  PAC has operated in the country since 1996.  Its mother company, Denso, is located in Japan.###