January 26, 2009
More than a hundred displaced workers from Mandaue City will hold a Lakbayan or long march to the DOLE Region VII office in Cebu City. The marchers will call for a bailout and stimulus package for workers affected by the global recession. The Partido ng Manggagawa-led long march is dubbed “Lakbayan ng Manggagawa para sa Katarungan, Proteksyon sa Manggagawa Laban sa Krisis” or “Lakbayan sa Mamumuo alang sa Hustisya, Proteksyon sa Mamumuo Batok sa Krisis.”
“We will demand from the DOLE that it investigate why Mr. Boschi of Giardini del Sole refuses to implement the agreement on work rotation instead of a temporary shutdown,” added Primitivo Ginoo, Jr. president of the Nagkahiusang Puwersa nga Mamumuo sa Giardini (NPMG), the union at the Giardini del Sole.
The members of NPMG voted 65 for and none against holding a strike in the voting conducted Friday last week. The NPMG filed a notice of strike Thursday last week and will submit today the results of the strike vote. Meanwhile the protest vigil by workers at the Giardini del Sole factory gates continues to this day.
The Lakbayan will start at the factory of Giardini del Sole around 8 a.m. tomorrow and arrive at the DOLE office by 10 a.m. The workers of Giardini del Sole will all be wearing their company shirts but will burn some of the Giardini t-shirts in a symbolic expression of discontent.
The main contingent of the Lakbayan marchers will come from the laid off workers of Giardini del Sole. Delegations of workers from Prince Warehouse, Cosonsa Manufacturing, General Milling Corp. and Lami Foods; displaced workers of Neostone and Presidents Marine; and students from UP-Cebu will participate in the march.
“The stirrings of workers discontent will explode into labor unrest unless the government and employers heed the demand for a bailout and stimulus package for workers. The funding for the bailout package should come from a realignment of the budget for debt serving,” explained Dennis Derige, spokesperson of PM for Cebu.
He stated that the bailout package for workers should include a subsidy for displaced workers, tax refund for workers as an economic stimulus, and a reformed and expanded state employment program for the millions of unemployed Filipinos.