[Press Release] Workers expect concrete support from the Church on local and national concerns

As CWS National Conference starts plenary session,
Workers expect concrete support from the Church on local and national concerns

As the Church People-Workers Solidarity starts its official plenary session today, participants coming from the workers and other marginalized groups expressed their hope to gain concrete support from the Church on pertinent national and local issues confronting them.

Cebu-based union president Arley Tigle of the CENAPRO Employees Union hopes the Church will influence CENAPRO owner in order to prevent the termination of 19 union officers and members who recently received a notice of termination.

Tigle said the union earned the ire of CENAPRO management after they conducted series of protest  when the management refused to grant health benefits to an ailing union member who later died of cancer. Thirteen (13) other CENAPRO workers  have died due to cancer and cardiac arrest  which the union attributes to the workers’ exposure to chemical processed in the factory. CENAPRO is producing activated carbon.

President of Visayas Electric Company Employees Union (VECEU)  Casmero Mahilum who was  illegally  terminated said he hopes the Church will continuously support their union. Mahilum was terminated in a move of VECEU management to crush the union. He was also charged with libel. The management also violated the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement between the VECEU and the union.

Workers of palm oil plantation in Mindanao meanwhile wail of unjust wages. Eleazar Abaja, CWS convenor and president of Palm Oil Plantation Workers Union in Agusan said “I hope that the Church will help us in our struggle for just wages.” According to Abaja, palm oil workers only receive an average of P90 a day for harvesting 30 pieces of fruit bunch. When sold by management, it earns a gross income of P7,200 for the 30 pieces of fruit bunch.

Steve Ranjo, convenor of the CWS and National President of PISTON, said that he hopes that the conference will make resolutions that will concretely address the problem of unabated oil price hikes. “We hope that the Church will join us in our call to scrap the oil deregulation law because oil price hikes affect not only drivers and public vehicle operators but more importantly the workers who spend higher cost for transportation. Oil companies enjoy more profit with the unabated oil price hikes while workers, drivers, and our families suffer from higher cost of gas, transportation and basic commodities.”

“It is a symptom of the deepening crisis of globalization; with the policies of deregulation and privatization, capitalists are able to extract more profit from the poor. And I hope that in these more difficult times for the marginalized in our society, the Church will make itself relevant by taking ‘concrete’ steps that will advance the interest of the workers,” Ranjo added.###

Reference: Roxanne Omega Doron, Media Liaison CWS, 09217862022, cws.cebu@yahoo.com, churchpeople.workers.solidarity@gmail.com

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