A protest march by laidoff workers of the biggest garments factory at the Cavite export processing zone pushed through today despite harassment by representatives of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
Some 100 workers of Faremo International Inc. marched from their picketline to the main gate of the Cavite ecozone but was told to stop by PEZA police and ecozone security guards led by PEZA industrial relations department head Allan Datahan. When the marchers proceeded with the protest, Datahan said to union president Jessel Autida they will not be allowed back in to the ecozone.
“We decry the harassment by the local PEZA of our peaceful protest against union busting and contractual work. The DOLE-PEZA-PNP guidelines of September 2011 explicitly protects the right to peaceful assembly and expression of workers involved in labor disputes,” Autida insisted.
The Faremo workers were met at the Cavite ecozone main gate by scores of supporters from community organizations and chapters of Partido Manggagawa (PM) where they held a program. Tomorrow another mediation meeting is scheduled by the DOLE-NCMB in Imus, Cavite to resolve the Faremo dispute.
“Faremo is shutting down to get rid of the union but will open again but with endo workers. This is not the first and last time that this union busting scheme was done by companies at the Cavite EPZA,” asserted Autida.
Autida cited the recent case of Seung Yuen Technology Industries Corp. (SYTIC) which filed a notice of closure last April to force workers who had formed a union to accept separation pay but which is presently still in operation with agency employees. SYTIC is a Korean-owned plastics company that supplies to eletronics factories. [See DOLE-NCMB record at http://co.ncmb.ph/ncmb-region-iv-a-settles-dispute-at-seung-yeun-technology-industries-corp/?print=pdf]
Autida clarified that Faremo workers are not on strike and want to work but have been locked out. He explained that they are maintaining a 24/7 picket at the factory to protest the illegal closure and union busting, and to guard against machines being taken out of Faremo. According to Autida, the union at Faremo was formed last year in a bid by workers to improve pay, benefits and working conditions and stop mistreatment like verbal abuse.
“Faremo has not presented any evidence to back its allegation that it lacks orders from its customers and so has to shutdown. It is just feigning lack of customers and financial losses. Thus we suspect that Faremo will reopen using workers who are contractual and without a union,” averred Autida.
He added that “Faremo declared multimillion losses from 2011 to 2013 without ever shutting down. But just months after a collective bargaining agreement with the union was concluded last May, it suddenly closes.”
“When Faremo first broached that they may shutdown temporarily and layoff workers, the union responded by proposing that work be rotated so that workers need not be retrenched. But such doable measures from the union fell on management’s deaf ears. It replied with a hardline position—close the factory and bust the union,” argued Autida.
The management of Faremo filed a notice for permanent closure in October 21. In response the labor union filed a union busting complaint. Faremo is a subsidiary of the Korean textile multinational company Hansoll and supplies to global garments brands. ###
Protests of the protest march can be accessed at:
November 7, 2016