Tuesday, April 2, 2013

PM slams union repression at Carmen Copper in Cebu

Press Release
April 1, 2013

With a month to go before Labor Day, the militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) raised alarm at the repression of the union at the giant Carmen Copper Corporation in Toledo City, Cebu. The union Panaghiusa sa Mamumuo sa Carmen Copper (PAMCC) represents some 2,000 workers in one of the largest copper mines in the world.

“The union office and the houses of union leaders have been raided by the police as a labor dispute over management’s attempt to contractualization simmers. Cebu is set to rival Colombia as the worst place for trade unionists,” declared Renato Magtubo, PM national chair.

Last March 21, a team from the PNP Region 7 Intelligence Division raided the office of the PAMCC and the house of the union president Toby Cuizon both in Toledo. Two days earlier, the same team swooped down on the house of union treasurer Roldan Cansancio and arrested four of his relatives and a househelp. Finally last March 25, eight armed men set Cansancio’s garage ablaze and opened fire on a househelp.

“The conduct of the police in Toledo is in direct violation of the JOINT DOLE-PNP-PEZA GUIDELINES ON THE CONDUCT OF PNP PERSONNEL DURING LABOR DISPUTES and the MANIFESTO OF COMMITMENT BY THE DOLE, LABOR SECTOR AND PNP TOWARDS A JOINT AND COLLECTIVE EFFORT TO PROMOTE AND PROTECT WORKERS’ RIGHTS. Heads must roll for this blatant disrespect for labor rights,” insisted Dennis Derige, PM-Cebu spokesperson.

Recently, the labor sector of the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC), in its March 27 meeting, resolved to form a fact finding team to investigate the alleged police harassment and bias by the Labor Department office in Region 7. The OIC of DOLE Region 7 is also to be summoned to explain the issue.

Cuizon welcomed the intervention of the TIPC labor and said “This is a welcome development. Despite PNoy’s avowed ‘tuwid na daan’ advocacy, the regional police is still stuck in a ‘lumang daan’ frame of mind. We suspect they are being used by management in a bid to bust the union as we are fighting for regular jobs.” He revealed that protest letters for the DILG, CHR, DOLE and DOJ and being prepared.

Labor groups under the broad coalition Nagkaisa vowed to monitor the situation in Carmen Copper and highlight the labor repression in the coming May Day commemoration. Some 40 labor groups under Nagkaisa plan to mobilize some 40,000 workers on May 1 and push for demands such as opposition to contractualization, high prices of commodities and utilities like electricity and the cheap labor policy.

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