February 24, 2010
Representatives of the displaced workers of Alta Mode Inc., a garments factory in the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) II and subcontractor for global brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, and the labor party-list Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) attended the meeting of the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) of Lapu-Lapu City. The TIPC was called for the sole purpose of discussing the labor dispute at Alta Mode.
“We bring our case to the TIPC since it is another venue by which to seek a resolution of the dispute between Alta Mode management and its workers. Our demands are reasonable while it is management that is intransigent. So we face the tripartite council which includes representatives of employers and government with clean hands,” declared Renante Peliño, president of the Alta Mode Workers Union (AMWU).
Accompanying Peliño was Dennis Derige, spokesperson of PM-Cebu, who added that “We will explain to the tripartite council that Alta Mode’s own financial statements for the years 2007 and 2008 disprove its claims of financial losses. According to the analysis of the legal of counsel of AMWU, Alta Mode is in good financial health since its total equity in positive despite reported losses in 2008.”
Meanwhile Ashley Acedillo, Magdalo congressional candidate for the north district of Cebu City, sent the embattled Alta Mode workers a statement of support. In his written message, Acedillo stated that “The threatened closure of Alta Mode, Inc. allegedly for financial loss has put in peril you, our workers, and this concerns me… I call on Alta Mode Inc. to hear your demands and give it the utmost consideration.”
Acedillo’s solidarity comes on the heels of a snowball of support from fellow workers in Cebu and also from distinguished Cebuanos like Dodong Nemenzo, former president of the University of the Philippines, who attended the solidarity activity for Alta Mode last Monday evening.
This coming Friday, the MEZ administration has asked the Alta Mode management and AMWU to a meeting. The meeting was a result of a letter sent by AMWU to the MEZ administration calling for its intervention. In the letter, AMWU appealed to MEZ administration not to give clearance to Alta Mode given the pendency of the labor dispute.
AMWU has a pending notice of strike at Department of Labor and Employment. In a strike vote held more than a week ago, AMWU members voted 86 for and only one against with five absent members unable to cast their positions.