Thursday, March 19, 2009

Garments workers in Mactan Export Zone stop work to protest capitalist abuse

Press Release
March 19, 2009

Workers of a garments export factory in the Mactan Export Processing Zone walked out of their jobs today in protest at the suffering from their abusive capitalist. Workers of Altamode which makes clothes under world-famous brands like Adidas, Reebok and Abercrombie & Fitch stopped work when their capitalist again sent home without pay workers who failed to reach their daily quota of production.

“This is wage theft. Our management is robbing us of our daily bread by dismissing early workers who do not attain their excessive, in fact impossible, production quota. This is not a flexibility scheme but a scam. We want management to give us our salary for working a full day,” argued Reynante Pelino, an Altamode worker.

After the Altamode workers went on a work stoppage, they went to the management to air their grievances. They then staged a picket inside the factory gates with supporters from Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) just outside. More than 120 workers remain at Altamode after around 500 contractual workers were laid off in the last quarter of last year.

Dennis Derige, spokesperson for PM in Cebu, said that “It is illegal for capitalists to make workers labor for part of the day then send them home penniless and hungry on the sorry excuse of failing to attain an extreme quota. This is grand theft of labor power. It is now clear that there is an epidemic of capitalists exploiting the global crisis to undercut labor standards and wreck workers rights.”

The workers have been complaining of their capitalist’s illegal practice and went to the DOLE to gather data. They found out that Altamode had filed a notice for temporary shutdown for six months starting February this year. “Yet the truth is that Altamode is operating though erratically. They make us work for only a few days in a week and then deny us our wage if we don’t reach the quota,” explained Pelino.

Pelino also clarified that Altamode had fabricated the documents it gave the DOLE about notifying workers of the shutdown and workers supposedly agreeing to the temporary closure. “We aired our complaints when they told us of the shutdown and we asked for financial assistance if they did do it. But not only did they not give us monetary support, they are robbing us of our rightful pay,” Pelino insisted.

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