Some 200 workers of a garments factory at the Mactan Economic Zone went to work on Saturday only to be told that they are already jobless. A big majority of the fired workers were women and breadwinners. The labor organizations Partido Manggagawa (PM) and the MEPZ Workers Alliance slammed the impromptu mass layoff at Yuenthai Philippines Inc. as inhumane amidst the difficulties of life during the pandemic.
PM is also assisting workers in the ecozones of Cavite and Laguna who were terminated, loss their jobs due to temporary closures and have not been paid their wages. A glass factory in Calamba, Laguna shutdown indefinitely in the middle of the lockdown and threw some 200 workers out of work. In the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) in Dasmarinas, Cavite, a garments factory have not paid their workers their last salary and have put them on forced leave. Suspiciously, the company is already selling pieces of machines. Earlier, the Sejung garment factory also located in FCIE shutdown also without paying workers their salaries and benefits.
“We call for a timeout on retrenchments in the ecozones. We demand immediate action from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the local government units. Nasaan ang ayuda?,” stated Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.
Likewise Cherry Abadilla, spokesperson for the MEPZ Workers Alliance, insisted that “We cannot accept that workers are the first to sacrifice in a time of covid and recession when we are the last to benefit during the period of economic boom. Nasaan ang bayanihan?”
Abadilla herself was terminated last July 10 along with other 67 workers of Kor Landa Corp., a French-owned manufacturer of jewelry at the Mactan Ecozone. She is president of the Kor Landa workers union and they have filed a notice of strike since they allege that the mass layoff in their company is just a subterfuge for union busting. The DOLE has called the union and management to a preventive mediation to prevent a full-blown strike.
PM and the MEPZ Workers Alliance are supporting the Yuenthai workers in their fight. Many of the jobless workers are refusing to accept the company offer. “Workers needs jobs so they can earn their daily bread. Accepting the company’s offer of separation will just tide workers over for a few weeks. When it is consumed, how can workers and their families survive when there is no ayuda from government and no hiring from other factories?,” argued Abadilla.
The two group are calling on workers in the Mactan Ecozone to unite and fight for their jobs. “We have no one to depend on but ourselves, our unity and our struggle. Mag-bayanihan po tayo at lumaban para sa ating trabaho!,”Abadilla appealed.
September 1, 2020