Labor groups Partido Manggagawa (PM) and the MEPZ Workers Alliance slammed the surprise mass layoff of an estimated 4,000 workers in the Sports City group of companies in the Mactan Economic Zone. The firing started yesterday but are continuing today. The groups also heard that there was tension in the factory gates this morning over the terminations happening.
“Some 4,000 breadwinners had the surprise of their covid lives when they were unceremoniously terminated without any clear criteria. This is the single largest layoff in the Mactan Ecozone since the 2009 economic crisis,” declared Rene Magtubo, PM chair.
The two groups are calling on the affected workers to fight for their jobs and oppose the impromptu termination. PM is providing legal assistance to laid off workers and already held an online consultation a few days ago. Meanwhile the MEPZ Workers Alliance is asking workers to raise their grievances and concerns at their Facebook page.
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.
Magtubo stated that “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.”
“Majority of those blindsided by the termination are women with families to feed but little prospect of finding new jobs in this pandemic economy. As per our monitoring, several hundred workers are being fired in each of the following factories: Vertex One, Mactan Apparel, Globalwear Manufacturing and Feeder Apparel,” explained Cherry Abadilla, spokesperson for the MEPZ Workers Alliance.
She added that the mass layoff at Sports City follows earlier terminations at Yuenthai and Kor Landa where 200 and 67 workers were affected. “There is a common modus operandi in all of these layoffs. They were surprise firings without prior notice. This is inhumane and disruptive of workers’ lives,” Abadilla insisted.
Scores of Yuenthai workers are refusing the separation offer of the company. In Kor Landa, the union filed a notice of strike which has triggered the preventive mediation proceedings of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board. Abadilla herself was terminated last July 10 along with Kor Landa workers, a French-owned manufacturer of jewelry.
September 5, 2020