Friday, November 1, 2019

Cavite garments workers to spend Undas at the picketline

Workers of a garments factory in the First Cavite Industrial Estate in Dasmarinas, Cavite will be spending undas at the picketlines instead of the graves of their departed love ones. The dispute between workers and management of Sejung Apparel Inc. is on its third week.

A hearing at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board ended last Wednesday without any agreement between the union and management. The union is demanding the reopening of the factory and the return to work of all employees.

The workers started their picket protest last October 14 after management locked out them out. The lockout happened just a week after the union submitted a proposal for a collective bargaining agreement.

“This is not the first time and unfortunately not the last time that a recently unionized factory suddenly closed down. This is the action of last resort by management in order to bust and avoid unions. We have seen this happen with the Faremo garments factory at the Cavite Economic Zone in 2016 and the Cebu Nisico electronics firm at the Mactan Economic Zone in 2017,” stated Rene Magtubo, national chair of Partido Manggagawa (PM).

Josephine Odchimar, union president, lamented that the freedom to unionize are dead in the ecozones. Tonight, workers staying at the picketline plan to light candles in memory of their dead family members but also in protest at the death of labor rights in the country.

Odchimar vowed that the union will continue the picket protest until workers are allowed back to work. She also called on the administration of the First Cavite Industrial Estate to respect the right of workers to protest in compliance with the DOLE-PEZA-PNP guidelines of 2011 and 2012. These guidelines on the right of workers to protest and strike in the ecozones were enacted in the wake of a high level mission by the ILO in 2009.

PM has been assisting export zone workers in Cavite and Cebu in their bid to improve wages and working conditions. “We call on the DOLE and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to intervene as this is a clear case of violation of the freedom of association (FOA). While the dialogue between labor groups, DOLE and PEZA about ensuring respect for freedom of association has been much delayed, union busting complaints like that in Sejung are happening with no action from government institutions. This is among the reasons the International Labour Organization last June resolved to investigate the government’s enforcement of Conventions 87 and 98 about freedom of association and collective bargaining respectively,” Magtubo explained. ###

November 1, 2019

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