Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Workers call on PEZA to suspend Cavite officer

The militant Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on the newly appointed head of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Charito Plaza to suspend its Industrial Relations Department chief Allan Datahan for harassing workers who held a protest march yesterday. PM has learned that the PEZA Board is having a meeting today.

“We call on PEZA Director General Plaza to suspend Datahan for violating the terms of the DOLE-PNP-PEZA guidelines of September 2011 which protects the right of workers’ to freedom of assembly and expression during labor disputes,” asserted Dennis Sequena, coordinator of PM’s Cavite chapter.

The group averred that yesterday some 100 workers of Faremo International Inc. marched from their picketline to the main gate of the Cavite ecozone but was told to stop by PEZA police and ecozone security guards led by Datahan. When the marchers proceeded with the protest against union busting and contractual work, Datahan said to Faremo union president Jessel Autida they will not be allowed back in to the ecozone. After the protest, Faremo workers who tried to enter the Cavite ecozone were barred by guards at the gates.

Faremo is biggest garments factory at the Cavite ecozone that shutdown last October 27 allegedly due to lack of orders. “Management however has not shown any piece of paper to support its claim of lack of orders. Instead we believe that Faremo’s closure is a ruse to bust the union and replace regular workers with contractual employees,” Autida argued.

Sequena stated that “Datahan has a track record of violating workers’ rights. Earlier this year, in a labor dispute at the Seung Yeun Technology Industries Corp. (SYTIC), an electronics subcon at the Cavite ecozone, he interrogated a worker for her union activities. Later in a dialogue with SYTIC workers, he refused their request for a counsel, threatened them with cases for trespassing and negotiated with them as if he was a representative of management.”

He added “Further, SYTIC exposes the modus operandi of union busting via illegal closure that Datahan has mastered. SYTIC filed a notice of closure last April to force workers who had formed a union to accept separation pay. Yet the SYTIC factory is still operating today but under a new name and with agency employees.”

Autida clarified that Faremo workers are not on strike and want to work but have been locked out. He explained that they are maintaining a 24/7 picket at the factory to guard against machines being taken out of Faremo. According to Autida, the union at Faremo was formed last year in a bid by workers to improve pay, benefits and working conditions and stop mistreatment like verbal abuse.

“When Faremo first broached that they may shutdown temporarily and layoff workers, the union responded by proposing that work be rotated so that workers need not be retrenched. But such doable measures from the union fell on management’s deaf ears. It replied with a hardline position—close the factory and bust the union,” Autida said.

November 8, 2016

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