February 22, 2010
Cebuano workers commemorated the anniversary of the Edsa 1 uprising with a mobilization in solidarity with the embattled union of Alta Mode Inc., a garments factory in the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) II and subcontractor for global brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch. Different labor unions and workers associations will converge at the main gates of MEZ II where the members of the Alta Mode Workers Union (AMWU) have set up a camp out since Monday last week.
“In the period of the global recession, the spirit of Edsa is expressed as labor power not just people power. In the era of the crisis of globalization, the next Edsa uprising must aim at instituting workers democracy not just elite democracy,” explained Greg Janginon, Partido ng Manggagawa-Cebu chairperson.
Some 200 workers will assemble at the MEZ gates for a solidarity program that will last from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The highlight of the program is the signing of a “covenant of support” for the Alta Mode workers. The labor unions of General Milling Corp., Prince Warehouse, Lami Foods, Neostone, and the workers associations of Paul Yu Industrial Corp. and KH will attend.
Francisco “Dodong” Nemenzo, a Cebuano and former University of Philippines president, will attend the solidarity program. Ashley Acedillo, Magdalo leader and congressional candidate for the north district of Cebu City, will send a statement of solidarity for the Alta Mode workers struggle. PM and the Magdalo group have a history of collaboration for people’s issues and in the present elections the labor party-list is endorsing the candidacy of Danny Lim for senator aside from Acedillo for congressman.
“We call on the export zone workers to come and join the solidarity program. The fight of the Alta Mode workers for job security and workers rights is the fight of all export zone workers,” declared Renante Peliño, AMWU president.
Since Monday, February 15, 2010, AMWU has protested outside the main gates of the MEZ II after workers were refused entry and not allowed to go to work. The following day, they set up camp at the MEZ gates in order to oblige the Alta Mode management to dialogue with the union. But the very next day, security guards of Acoland, lessor of the MEZ II, tried unsuccessfully to force them out of the export zone.
“Management does not want to face the workers because it will lose face since the financial statement it submitted to the Labor Department reveals that it is not losing,” asserted Peliño.
Alta Mode management has refused to dialogue with the workers and has boycotted the two mediation meetings called by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board last week. Meanwhile none of the 91 members of AMWU have accepted the separation package being offered by management.