|Sanofi med reps prayer rally at DOLE Calabarzon in Calamba, Laguna|
The restive med reps of pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Aventis declared their readiness to go on strike should the make or break mediation meeting today produce no breakthrough in the deadlocked collective bargaining negotiations. Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz called for the mediation in bid to avert a work stoppage at the Philippine subsidiary of the French-owned global giant.
“If it takes a strike to make management realize that it is the labor of their employees that creates their profit, then we are all set for it. Still we hope that Secretary Baldoz can broker a fair deal today. A fair deal, a decent collective bargaining agreement should mean a salary that we deserve,” insisted Lei Lucido, president of the Sanofi Aventis Employees Union (SAEU).
While SAEU representatives attended the mediation at the Department of Labor and Employment, scores of union members with their supporters picketed outside. The highlight of the protest was a flash mob by several med reps who danced while wearing Guy Fawkes masks. The masks have become an icon of anti-corporate protests since it was popularized in the movie “V.”
Since October last year, bargaining talks have been deadlocked over ten items from salary hike to hospitalization plan. The notice of strike filed by the med reps union matured two weeks ago.
“A strike is the Rx for deadlocked negotiations over a wage increase. This may be our first time to go on strike but we are ready as ever. We appeal to management to hear our reasonable demand for a salary hike which is a mere drop in the bucket of Sanofi’s income,” argued Joseph Corpuz, SAEU officer.
He added that “Aside from robust revenues due to sales quotas achieved by med reps for the past two years, Sanofi has bagged the contract for anti-dengue vaccines. For this year alone, the government is buying PhP 3 billion worth of vaccines from Sanofi. Health Secretary Janet Garin has been quoted as saying that the anti-dengue vaccine is expensive because it is a monopoly of Sanofi.”
Renato Magtubo, chair of Partido Manggagawa (PM), explained that “Labor groups are supporting the fight of Sanofi med reps not just because their demand for a wage hike is justified given employee productivity and company profitability. But also because the fight for a living wage is a cause of all workers. Ang laban ng Sanofi med reps ay laban ng lahat ng manggagawa.”
PM and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) were among the groups which joined SAEU in the protest today at DOLE. Other labor groups like the Bayer Philippines union, Federation of Free Workers and the Industri-ALL global union have also participated in the Sanofi med reps mass actions.
Since last week, SAEU has held daily protests in cities across the country in preparation for the strike. Pickets and prayer rallies have been organized in the Sanofi office in Makati, and the cities of Angeles in Pampanga, Calamba in Laguna, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo and Davao.
Photos and videos of protests and events can be accesses at Facebook page "Sanofi Aventis Employees Union"
January 25, 2016
Sanofi Aventis Employees Union (SAEU)