Saturday, April 21, 2018

Strike notice filed anew as Cavite factory fires unionists en masse

A notice of strike has been filed again by workers of a garments factory in the Cavite ecozone in response to the mass termination of 16 union officers. The strike notice was filed yesterday by the union at the Dong Seung Inc., a Korean-owned apparel manufacturer inside the Cavite Economic Zone, the country’s biggest government-run export processing estate.

“The firing of all 16 union officers, including the union president, is just the latest in a series of union busting moves by management. Moreover it is a maneuver done in bad faith as the union just withdrew a notice of strike earlier filed. The retraction of the strike was part of an agreement mediated by the Labor Department wherein workers will be accepted back to work after an investigation by management,” explained Dennis Sequena, coordinator of Partido Manggagawa (PM), which is assisting the Dong Seung workers.

PM announced that a big rally of some 1,000 workers is to be held on April 28 at the Cavite ecozone to protest the union busting at Dong Seung and other factories.

Sequena declared that “Tama na. Sobra na. Oras na para igalang ang karapatang mag-unyon para mapabuti ang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa. Workers in the Cavite ecozone are organizing to improve their wages and working conditions but the response of companies is to bust unions and harass workers.”

The Dong Seung union officers were served notices of termination in their houses by an HR officer of the company last Thursday. They were supposed to back to work yesterday as part of the agreement. The original strike notice was caused by the one-month suspension of the 16 union officers.

The union had filed a petition for certification elections in the company last December. Immediately after, the union alleged that management started harassing officers and members. Unionists were denied loans or were forced to withdraw support for the union in return for access to loans. Union leaders were transferred to different production lines and a union officer was demoted from mechanic to sewer.

Then in the latter part of March, management suspended for 30 days all union officers on the pretext that they smeared the company by seeking action from the factory customers regarding violations of freedom of association and labor standards.

Dong Seung produces garments for global brands Macy’s and Ann Taylor. The company  is owned by the Korean multinational Suy Co. which also owns LS Phils. and Lee & Choi in the Cavite ecozone and other factories in Indonesia, Vietnam and Guatemala.

April 21, 2018


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