There was an hours-long standoff inside the Cavite economic zone in the town of Rosario yesterday as protesting workers stopped a container truck loaded with machines from leaving a dispute-bound factory. The tense situation ended only when the truck left early last night without its container load.
Workers of the garments factory Faremo International Inc. slammed its Korean owners for attempting to spirit away computerized sewing machines. They also condemned the industrial relations (IR) head of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority for conniving with management.
“We caught Faremo violating an agreement that it will not take out machines from the factory. Runaway shop is an unfair labor practice and illegal. Faremo closed down its organized factory to bust the union and is relocating to an unorganized plant whether in the Philippines or abroad,” averred Jessel Autida, president of the Faremo workers union.
Faremo is the biggest garments factory at the Cavite ecozone that shutdown last October 27 allegedly due to lack of orders, a claim that has been debunked by the admission of one of its clients that purchases have in fact been increased. 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 guard against machines being taken out of Faremo.
Faremo is owned by the Korean multinational Hansoll and supplies to global garments brands Gap, JC Penney and Kohl’s. Faremo workers have been on the picketline for more than a month now. 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.
Autida also denounced PEZA IR official Allan Datahan and the PEZA police for threatening the protesting workers with criminal charges and dispersal using a firetruck for preventing the shipment of machines out of the factory.
He explained that “We are not scared with Datahan’s threats and we stood our ground for we are on the side of reason and law. It is Datahan and his PEZA police minions that are in breach of the DOLE-PNP-PEZA guidelines of 2011 that ban police, security guards and military from intervening in labor disputes.”
Meanwhile the militant Partido Manggagawa (PM) for the suspension of Datahan for his role in the tense standoff at the Faremo factory. “Once more Datahan, who is a public official, has been caught conniving with foreign investors who are trying to transgress our labor laws,” insisted Dennis Sequena, PM-Cavite coordinator.
December 16, 2016