July 2, 2009
Around 200 workers of Paul Yu, a Taiwanese-owned lamp shade factory, resumed their daily picket-protest outside the gates of the Mactan Export Processing Zone II in Lapu-Lapu City after more than a week of “fruitless negotiations” with management. “Tuloy ang laban! We are here to inform workers in the export zone that the fight continues. We are here to seek support from fellow Cebuanos,” stated Willy Dondoyano, head of the Paul Yu Workers Association (PYWA).
The moving picket started yesterday then resumed today at around 8:30 a.m. and will continue till the afternoon. Yesterday security guards at the export zone tried to cajole the picketers to disperse but the workers stood their ground and no untoward incident transpired as the peaceful protest continued.
Dondoyano explained that “In the face of management’s intransigence, we continue to demand that all workers be allowed to work without any retaliation from management. The suspension on the seven leaders and more than 300 workers must be lifted. We refuse management’s offer that we be retrenched and paid a separation rate of P3,000 per year of service. Such an offer is in fact below the criteria set by the Labor Code.”
Dennis Derige, spokesperson of Partido ng Manggagawa-Cebu, revealed that supporters of the Paul Yu workers from abroad have already contacted the major US customers of the company. “We are asking Pier 1 Imports and Home Center to investigate the violations of labor standards and the right to organize at Paul Yu. These are serious infractions of the vendor codes of conduct that such US companies must uphold,” he declared.
Since the suspension of more than 300 workers starting last June 22, hearings had been conducted at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board and the Department of Labor and Employment. Talks have ended in a deadlock as management has refused to face the workers demand for the lifting of the suspension and the start of negotiations on their grievances while workers reject management offer of separation.
Dondoyano declared that the picket today will continue in the following days until there is a breakthrough in the negotiations. “Militancy in struggle is workers’ answer to management’s hardline position. We call on fellow workers in the export zone to rise up in struggle for labor rights and welfare,” he added.