10 November 2010
Aside from the Philippine Airlines (PAL), workers of another flagship company of business tycoon Lucio Tan, the Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC), are getting restive as the company embarks on major reorganization which threatens the job security of its more than 2,000 workers, according to the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
Partido ng Manggagawa Chair and former Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (FTLU) president Renato Magtubo added that FTLU members see the threat real and forthcoming but not without resistance from one of the country’ strongest unions. A torch parade around the FTC plants and a march to Concepcion Church in Marikina City will be held at 6:00 p.m. today as a show of resistance to the threat of mass layoff and contractualization.
Magtubo said the threat on job security of FTC workers took shape February this year when FTC and Philip Morris Philippines, Inc. (PMPI) announced the formation of a joint venture company called Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC). Details of the merger agreement, however, remain unclear especially on the employment status of FTC workers as the management feeds the union merger information by piecemeal.
The merger, according to industry reports, created a virtual monopoly of the tobacco industry in the country. FTC controls 60% share of the market while PMPI has 30%.
But corporate mergers, acquisitions and other forms of restructuring around the world as a result of globalization were always accompanied by job losses and regression in labor standards on the part of the workers. Magtubo said bank mergers in recent past and now the outsourcing in PAL are fresh examples of how labor is forcibly made flexible to the whims of capital.
“By closely watching the recent developments in PAL, FTLU members are getting restless over the ‘general pattern’ created with PAL’s journey into the world of contractualization,” said Magtubo referring to the planned outsourcing and contractualization of the flag carrier’s non-core function recently upheld by the Labor Department.
Magtubo said the management should make a full disclosure of joint venture agreement and warns it not to resort to any kind of action that would undermine workers’ right to security of tenure, their collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and the defense of their union.