Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ecozone workers protest series of factory shutdowns



At the height of the transport strike yesterday afternoon, workers in the Cavite ecozone held a protest against the management schemes of busting unions by shutting down factories. One garments factory temporarily shutdown last month and there are rumors of an electronics firm closing next month, both located at the Cavite Economic Zone in the town of Rosario.

Workers are alleging that the shutdowns are motivated by union busting. Workers of the garments factory Sein Together Phils. Inc., which shutdown last month, led the mass action where respect for freedom of association, and better wages and benefits were demanded.

“We call on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to intervene as these unfair labor practices by foreign capitalists are engendering workers discontent and labor disputes. Workers are unionizing to improve their working conditions but are being met by extreme interference from capitalists unwilling to share the fruits of production,” asserted Rene Magtubo, national chair of Partido Manggagawa (PM), which has been assisting the ecozone workers.

Almost four hundred Sein Together workers were terminated after accepting a separation offer. Meanwhile at the electronics firm Lakepower Converter Inc., overtime was cancelled and the workweek was reduced to only five days starting last week.

Dennis Sequena, PM-Cavite coordinaor explained that “The common denominator between Sein Together and Lakepower is that workers exercised their right to unionize so they could better their wages and working conditions. In the Korean-owned Sein Together, the response of management was to harass workers and force them to accept separation during the shutdown.”

Last month, media reported the exodus of Korean companies from the Philippines to Vietnam due allegedly to the high cost of doing business. Magtubo insisted though that some of the companies may just be relocating to avoid unionization.

Sequena cited that “The biggest garments in the Cavite ecozone, Faremo International Inc.,  shutdown in October last year, just four months after signing a collective bargaining agreement with the then newly-formed union. More than seven hundred workers were laid off because of the factory closure but the union maintained a picketline for three months inside the Cavite ecozone to demand the reopening of the factory. The dispute ended with the workers accepting an improved separation offer from Faremo, including the grant of sewing machines for a livelihood project.”

He added that “Also Seung Yuen Technology Industries Corp., an electronics supplier at the Cavite ecozone, filed for closure after the workers voted yes to a  union in April 2016. After the union accepted an improved separation offer, the factory reopened immediately under a new name but with contractual and non-union workers.”

“This modus operandi of closing a factory to bust the union and reopening under a new name is also practiced in the Mactan Cebu ecozone as can be gleaned from the very recent case of electronics factory Cebu Nisico Corp. Before negotiations with the union could begin, it shutdown last August, offered separation to almost 200 workers and then reopened after just two weeks with a new name,” Magtubo averred.

Protest of the protest can be accessed at: https://www.facebook.com/partidomanggagawa/posts/10155697433684323
and

October 17, 2017


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Advisory: Ecozone workers protest vs “factory shutdown cum union busting”

Media Advisory
October 16, 2017
Partido Manggagawa
Contacy Dennis Sequena @ 09301803072

Ecozone workers protest vs “factory shutdown cum union busting”

WHAT: March and picket by Cavite ecozone workers vs closures, union busting

WHEN: Today, October 16 (Monday), 3-5pm

WHERE: Cavite Economic Zone, Rosario, Cavite, Gate 1

DETAILS:

Scores of garments and electronics factory workwers are holding a march inside the Cavite ecozone this afternoon and then a picket at the main gate together with supporters from groups Partido Manggagawa, Sentro and Katipunan ng Manggagawang Pilipino.

One garments factory temporarily shutdown last month and there are rumors of an electronics firm closing next month, both located at the Cavite Economic Zone. However, workers are alleging that the shutdowns are motivated by union busting.

The groups are calling on the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to intervene. Workers are unionizing to improve their working conditions but are being met by extreme interference from capitalists unwilling to share the fruits of production.

Last month, media reported the exodus of Korean companies from the Philippines to Vietnam due allegedly to the high cost of doing business. Workers insist that some of the companies may just be relocating to avoid unionization. ###

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ecozone workers slam “factory shutdown cum union busting”


Workers in the Cavite ecozone are slamming management schemes of busting unions by shutting down their factories. One garments factory temporarily shutdown last month and there are rumors of an electronics firm closing next month, both located at the Cavite Economic Zone in the town of Rosario.

However, workers are alleging that the shutdowns are motivated by union busting. On Monday, workers are holding a mass protest at the Cavite ecozone to highlight their demand for respect for freedom of association, and better wages and benefits.

“We call on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to intervene as these unfair labor practices by foreign capitalists are engendering workers discontent and labor disputes. Workers are unionizing to improve their working conditions but are being met by extreme interference from capitalists unwilling to share the fruits of production,” asserted Rene Magtubo, national chair of Partido Manggagawa (PM), which has been assisting the ecozone workers.

Last month, the garments factory Sein Together Phils. Inc. closed down and then reopen on October 23 according to a notice filed at the DOLE. However almost four hundred Sein Together workers have already been terminated after accepting a separation offer. Meanwhile at the electronics firm Lakepower Converter Inc., workers are concerned by stories from management personnel that it will shutdown temporarily next month. Starting this week, overtime was cancelled and workweek was reduced to only five days at Lakepower.

“The common denominator between Sein Together and Lakepower is that workers exercised their right to unionize so they could better their wages and working conditions. In the Korean-owned Sein Together, the response of management was to harass workers and force them to accept separation during the shutdown,” Magtubo explained.

Last month, media reported the exodus of Korean companies from the Philippines to Vietnam due allegedly to the high cost of doing business. Magtubo insisted though that some of the companies may just be relocating to avoid unionization.

He cited the case of Faremo International Inc., the biggest garments in the Cavite ecozone that shutdown in October last year, just four months after signing a collective bargaining agreement with the then newly-formed union. More than seven hundred workers were laid off because of the factory closure but the union maintained a picketline for three months inside the Cavite ecozone to demand the reopening of the factory. The dispute ended with the workers accepting an improved separation offer from Faremo, including the grant of sewing machines for a livelihood project.

Magtubo also mentioned the dispute at the Seung Yuen Technology Industries Corp., an electronics supplier at the Cavite ecozone that filed for closure after the workers voted yes to a  union in April 2016. After the union accepted an improved separation offer, the factory reopened immediately under a new name and with contractual and non-union workers.


“This modus operandi of closing a factory to bust the union and reopening under a new name is also practiced in the Mactan Cebu ecozone as can be gleaned from the very recent case of electronics factory Cebu Nisico Corp. Before negotiations with the union could begin, it shutdown last August, offered separation to almost 200 workers and then reopened after just two weeks with a new name,” Magtubo averred.

October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

San makakarating ang P21 if the cost of living is P1,200?—labor group


With the implementation today of the P21 minimum wage hike for NCR workers, the militant Partido Manggagawa (PM) released its own study of the cost of living for a family of five in Metro Manila that reveals it has already reached P1,261 a day.

"San makakarating ang P21 na wage order kung ang daily cost of living ay P1,200? This estimate shows that the gap between the P512 minimum wage in the NCR and the present cost of living is a yawning P749 or 146% of the ordinary wage. Even if both parents work—which is the buy one, take one policy of the government—then their combined income will not be enough to feed the entire family," stated Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson.

The group’s cost of living estimate did not provide for savings and social security which in the government’s basket of goods and services constitutes 10% of the cost of living. Furthermore, PM's study did not include items such as leisure and recreation, and the family budget for health excluded medical expenses. Magtubo said that "If we include such items, and we must in a more accurate survey, then the cost of living will significantly exceed P1,200 per day."

The group asserts that the wage orders granted by the NCR wage board have not been enough to bridge the huge gap between the minimum wage and the cost of living. “Since the NCR wage board was established in 1989, no basic wage increase ever granted was above P30, whether the economy was in boom or bust. The wage boards must be abolished for being inutile. Its wage orders are always delayed, stingy and benefits merely a small section of workers because it is not across-the-board and riddled with exemptions, deferments and creditability clauses," declared Magtubo.

He added that “Whatever happened to the campaign promise of this administration that the regional wage boards wil be abolished and a national minimum wage instituted? Is it just another broken promise, like ending endo?”

The group is advocating for the establishment of a National Wage Commission. “The National Wage Commission is different in that its mandate is to fix wages based on the single criterion of cost of living. And despite the huge gap between the present minimum wage and the current cost of living, the National Wage Commission can achieve equalizing the two by a host of mechanisms among which are direct wage increases, tax exemptions, price discounts at social security subsidies for workers,” Magtubo explained.

Magtubo also argued that "Since we should not impose the burden of household chores and child rearing to the female parent, then the basket of goods should provide for a househelp. That is not anymore a luxury especially in the light of the insistence of the state that both parents must work instead of having just a single breadwinner. Even the Kasambahay Law implicitly recognizes that a househelp is a necessity even for working class households."

Cost of Living Estimate
for a family of 5 living in NCR (2017)


Items

Volume/Cost
Daily
Cost
Monthly
Cost
%
share
Food & Beverages


16,029.70
42.31
rice
2.5kg/day x P35 (sinandomeng)
87.50
2,625

ulam & gulay
3 servings (P78/pax/day x 5 pax)
390
11,700

condiments
2kg onion (P65),
1kg garlic (P109), others
7.97
239

fruits
4kg  x P40 (banana)
5.33
160

cooking oil
2 liters x P95.45
6.36
190.90

sugar
2kg x P50
3.33
100

soy sauce
1 liter P32.25
1.08
32.25

vinegar
1 liter P26.75
0.89
26.75

fish sauce
1 liter P30.75
1.03
30.75

coffee
2 (100g) x P75.90
5.06
151.80

milk
3 (900g) x P257.75
25.78
773.25

Utilities


3,400
8.97
electricity
200kwh (P11.17/kwh)
74.47
2,234

water
20cu.m. (P20.80/cu.m)
13.87
416

LPG
1 cylinder
25
750

House rental


6,000
15.84

1 month rent
200
6,000

Toiletries


1,224.10
3.23
soap
6 bars x P37.75
7.55
226.50

shampoo
2 (200ml ) x P99.80
6.65
199.60

sanitary napkins
3 (packs of 8) x P40.00
4
120

toothpaste
2 (150ml) x P67.50
4.5
135

laundry soap
24 (70g pack) x P9.50
7.60
228

deodorant
4 x P78.75
10.50
315

Education


5,170.83
13.65
enrollment fees
3 pax x P750 = P2250/schoolyear
6.16
187.50

school allowance
100 x 2 pax & 50 x 1 pax/day x 22 days x 10 months = P55,000/yr

150.68

4583.33

theatre tickets
1 ticket x P200/grading x 4 periods x 3 pax/schoolyear = P2,400
6.58
200


school projects
2 subjects x P100
/grading x 4 periods x 3 pax = P2,400/schoolyear

6.58

200

Health


165
0.44
ascorbic acid
5 (1 tablet ascorbic acid generic) X P1.10
5.50
165

Communications


1,500
3.96
phone or cellphone
at least P25/day load x 2
50
1,500

Transpo expenses


4,400
11.61
fare to and from work
2 pax x P100/day x 22days
146.67
4,400

Total

P1,260.64
P37,889.63


NOTES:

1.     Family is composed of a couple with 3 children. Children are all in public schools (2 HS level and 1 elementary), school supplies, work books expenses, internet use for research are not yet included
2.     Basket does not include bill for a house-help
3.     Utilities such as electricity and water vary from time to time depending on consumption so its ++
4.     No item for leisure/recreation
5.     Health budget does not include medical expenses
6.     No budget allotted for savings.  NWPC basket provides 10% of the total

October 5, 2017