Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cavite ecozone head asked to resign as women workers strike enters 3rd day

The group Partido Manggagawa (PM) today called for the resignation of the head of the Cavite Economic Zone for being responsible for the harassment of striking women workers that resulted in injuries to two strikers and the imposition of “martial law” in the country’s biggest export processing zone. Yesterday afternoon PM and other groups rallied at the Cavite ecozone in support of the women strikers and vowed to hold more solidarity actions next week.

“The violent attacks on women strikers by armed security guards contracted by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) lies squarely in the hands of Atty. Norma Tañag, head of the Cavite ecozone. Her resignation would be a fitting celebration of International Human Rights Day tomorrow,” asserted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

Maricar Orque and Magdalena Peña, both workers of Lakepower Converter Inc., a Taiwanese-owned electronics company, were hurt in the commotion that followed the dismantling of the picketline last Thursday night. Lakepower workers went on strike that afternoon after mediation meetings convened by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board collapsed as management refused workers demands that the termination and suspension of union officers and members be stopped.

Magtubo added that “On the eve of human rights day, Tañag has imposed martial law in the Cavite ecozone with guards of the Jantro security agency and the PEZA police as her goons and thugs. Workers and supporters who want to bring food, water and supplies to the strikers are stopped and prevented from proceeding to the picketline. Jantro guards repeatedly intimidate strikers who put up protest placards and signs at the picketline. All of these are blatant transgressions of the DOLE-PEZA-PNP Guidelines on the Conduct of Personnel During Labor Disputes.”

PM assailed the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for inaction despite the incidents of violence at the Lakepower picketline. “While the DOLE celebrated its 84th anniversary yesterday in Bulacan, Cavite workers were facing violent repression by PEZA personnel. DOLE has the power to assign a peacekeeping team at the Lakepower picketline and the responsibility of convening an inter-agency committee to prevent violence during labor disputes. Pero natutulog sa pansitan ang DOLE habang dinadahas ang kababaihang manggagawa,” insisted Magtubo.

Unrest has festered at Lakepower for the last few months. Among workers grievances is the removal of the door of the women’s restroom so that the company can spy on workers. Almost all of the 200 workers in the factory are women. They are also outraged at the unreasonable limits on the use of the restroom which has led to cases of workers suffering from urinary tract infection. Workers are also complaining of excessive quota and the exclusion of unionists from receiving Christmas packages.

Last November 16, the Lakepower workers held a protest at the Cavite ecozone against company abuses. The protest was the third such picket over the last month at the country’s biggest export processing zone. Earlier, garments workers held protest actions against “factory shutdown-cum-union busting.” After two protests and a strike threat, the union leaders at the Korean-owned garments factory Sein Together Phils. Inc. were eventually accepted back to work.

Photos of the solidarity action yesterday at the Cavite ecozone can be accessed here:

December 9, 2017

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