June 22, 2009
More than 300 workers of the Paul Yu, a factory in Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) II in Lapu-Lapu City producing lamp shades for the export and local market, were suspended for 30 days starting today for participating in the work stoppage last week in support of seven leaders who were earlier suspended.
Meanwhile a US-based advocacy group, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), in a letter sent to the management of Paul Yu with copies furnished to the main and Region 7 offices of the Department of Labor and Employment and Philippine Export Zone Authority, expressed concern over the “serious violations of workers’ rights” at the factory.
“The suspension of hundreds of workers is grave harassment by management. Management is willing to risk disruption of production just to teach the workers a lesson that they must pay for standing up for their rights. We appeal to our fellow workers still working not to be scabs and refuse management’s plan for them to work six days instead of three in order to make up for the loss in manpower,” stated Willy Dondoyano, head of the Paul Yu workers association,
A meeting at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board is scheduled today to hear the major issues raised by the workers such as the reduction of working days, job outsourcing, regularization of agency workers and money claims for three years of non-implementation of paternity leave and service incentive leave. The workers however will push for the resolution of the suspension of the seven leaders and the hundreds of workers.
Dondoyano insisted that “We demand that management immediately lift the suspension on the seven leaders and the hundreds of workers, and for them to negotiate with the association for the redress of workers grievances. If not then we can count on the support of US advocacy and labor groups to send letters of concern to Paul Yu’s American customers for the violations of their vendor ethical codes of conduct.”
The ILRF is an advocacy organization based in Washington, DC dedicated to achieving just and human treatment for workers worldwide. In the letter signed by Trina Tocco, ILRF Deputy Director, it says that “We ask for a prompt and effective solution to this problem. Our organization and others around the world will be monitoring this situation. We await your quick and timely intervention in this urgent and pressing matter.” Partido ng Manggagawa which is supporting the fight of the Paul Yu workers revealed that more expressions of solidarity from abroad are forthcoming.