Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cavite women workers all set for strike

The women workers of an electronics factory in Cavite gave the go signal for a work stoppage after a successful strike vote last Tuesday. The strike can be held as early as December 6 and paralyze the production at Lakepower Converter Inc., located at the Cavite Economic Zone.

“We are earnestly preparing for a strike against the union busting and unfair labor practices of management. Only the unity and action of workers can stop the vicious cycle of abuse and repression in our factory,” declared Mercy Tanginan, predisent of the Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Lakepower Converter Inc.

A mediation called by the Department of Labor and Employment yesterday to avert the strike did not push through as the company asked to reschedule. Meanwhile the company stated that the termination of the union president and five other unionists has been temporarily deferred.

Tangian responded that “We demand a permanent stop to the harassment and discrimination of unionists. The pending termination of six unionists and suspension of other officers and members must be totally scrapped. Workers’ grievances must be settled. If not, the strike will push through.”

Dennis Sequena, a Cavite coordinator of the militant Partido Manggagawa (PM), which is assisting the Lakepower workers, averred that the next mediation on December 5 will be a make-or-break meeting. He said that “If management does not respond to workers demands then the strike is a go. PM chapters and Cavite ecozone unions will give 100% support to the Lakepower workers. Ang laban ng isa ay laban ng lahat.”

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.

“Workers are unionizing to improve their working conditions but are being met by extreme interference from capitalists unwilling to share the fruits of production,” asserted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

December 2, 2017

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