Militant Labor Decry Union-busting at PMFTC
Accuses Management of Unfair Labor Practice and Blames Aquino’s Sin Tax
IN AN e-mailed statement to the media, a militant labor group issued a strong condemnation after the management of the Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco issued notices of termination to six hundred and forty of its regular employees in its Marikina plant. PMFTC is the producer of Marlboro and Fortune brand cigarettes and despite the reported decline in its market share still leads the industry in volume of sales.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) called the move of the PMFTC management as “reeking with treachery” since the local union and the management just recently concluded their Collective Bargaining agreement (CBA) barely a month ago.
Meanwhile, PMFTC president Paul Riley in a statement to the media said the company treated its employees “with utmost respect”.
“This retrenchment plan of PMFTC is undeniably groundless and equally heartless because not only did the termination notice welcome their return from the holiday break but because the management deceptively led the workers to believe that they were getting a well-deserved promotion in benefits, said Gie Relova of BMP.
Among the benefits that were concluded in the CBA negotiations were annual increases of a thousand pesos for two years and other fringe benefits.
He claimed that the company is not bankrupt and is nowhere close to suffering financial losses based on its submitted financial statements to the Security and Exchange Commission in the past three years. Relova also said that the same company documents were used as baseline data during the CBA negotiations, indicating that the management acknowledged the veracity of the documents.
The management told their employees last week that they shall incur losses in the coming months based on their projections.
Relova explained that, “Ultimately, there can be no other motivation for them to lay-off workers but to bust the union so it can rake in more profits. Since the management’s stock build-up scheme and costly lobbying in Congress failed to curb the surge of the sales of its closest rival, it opted to make its diligent workers pay for its own miscalculations”.
He further argued that PMFTC has nearly six thousand workers nationwide, but its right-sizing scheme maliciously targeted five hundred-eighty union members, an overwhelming majority of the six hundred and forty regular employees to be terminated.
The BMP claimed that the remaining union members fear that this will not be the last attempt of the management. It said that, “Riley will not rest until the labor union is fully busted and its workforce entirely made up of contractual employees”.
The labor leader also took a swipe at the government. Relova focused his crosshairs on Senator Franklin Drilon and chief sin tax promoter, finance Secretary Cesar Purisima who repeatedly claimed during the deliberations of the Sin Tax Reform Law that increased excise tax collections will not lead to job losses.
“We demand that Drilon and Purisima for the sake of delicadeza issue a public apology for misleading the public as well as the allocation of sufficient state funds from the excise tax collection to provide financial package to soften the impacts of unemployment until they have secured regular employment,” Relova said.
The BMP leader likewise inferred that, “We were not mistaken in our analysis in 2012. The government is thrilled with its excise tax collection and the companies maintained to reap billions of pesos in profits. Ultimately only the factory workers and tobacco farmers shall be the ones to bear the brunt of the sumptuary imposition.
He added that, “In their insatiable quest for profit and taxes both the state and corporations arrange the workers to be the last to benefit from its own labor yet the first to be discarded when they fall short of their revenue targets”.
“Not only has this government failed to deliver the Filipino workers from the yoke of contractual employment, rampant violations of labor standards and wage suppression but has also condemned once productive workers to the gallows of unemployment and economic uncertainty,” he charged.
The BMP, though vindicated after fighting tooth and nail during the sin tax law deliberations vowed to make the Aquino government and the management of PMFTC pay for their rabid anti-worker schemes.
14 January 2015
Gie Relova 0915-2862555
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino
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