Tag Archives: International Labour Organization

[Petition] Take action for women workers’ rights and an end to gender-based violence at work! -International Labor Rights Forum

Take action for women workers’ rights and an end to gender-based violence at work!

Gender-based violence in the workplace is a pernicious and global labor and human rights violation that particularly impacts women, their well-being, and their participation in the economy and society.

Whether occurring at the actual place of work or on the way to and from work, it can take on multiple forms, including:

Physical abuse, including assault, battery, attempted murder and murder
Sexual violence including rape and sexual assault
Verbal abuse and threats of violence
Psychological abuse and intimidation
Sexual harassment
Threats of violence
Economic and financial abuse
Worldwide, 35% of women have experienced violence, and 40 to 50% of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.1

This global problem demands a global response. Trade unions are calling for a new international Convention on gender-based violence at the workplace, and are using their voice at the International Labour Organization’s Governing Body (ILO GB) to put the topic on the agenda of the International Labour Conference (ILC). The ILC is where international labour standards get negotiated and agreed upon by employers, governments and workers. A proposal is currently pending before the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to develop an international standard to guide governments and businesses on developing strong laws and policies to prevent and remedy the problem. Developing an international standard will promote global equality and foster safer workplaces.

You can take action now to support women workers’ rights and stand against gender-based violence at work, by urging Coca-Cola, Disney and Procter & Gamble — leaders in the United States Council for International Business — to support the call at the ILO Governing Board in November 2014 to put a standard-setting conversation on gender-based violence in the world of work on the agenda of the International Labour Conference.

Add your voice here.

Thank you,

Judy Gearhart
Executive Director
International Labor Rights Forum

Sign petition @action.laborrights.org

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[Press Release] Asian Development Bank: Reconsider Uzbekistan Project-Proposed Project Fails to Address Forced, Child Labor- HRW

Asian Development Bank: Reconsider Uzbekistan Project
Proposed Project Fails to Address Forced, Child Labor


(Manila, September 11, 2013) – The Asian Development Bank should not proceed with its Uzbekistan irrigation project until grave human rights concerns including forced labor are adequately addressed, Human Rights Watch and the Cotton Campaign said in a letter to the bank’s president released today.

The bank’s board of directors is imminently scheduled to consider the project. The project will benefit the cotton sector, which relies on forced labor, including forced child labor.

“The Asian Development Bank has an important role to play in funding development in Uzbekistan, but it shouldn’t be supporting a system that uses forced labor,” said Jessica Evans, senior advocate for international financial institutions at Human Rights Watch. “The Bank has closed its eyes to the fact that its irrigation project would bolster a cotton-growing system that routinely violates the rights of the people forced to pick the cotton.”

During the 2012 harvest the Uzbek government forced over a million of its own citizens – children and adults – to harvest cotton in abusive conditions under threat of punishment. Regional authorities, police, and school administrators, reporting to the prime minister and other cabinet ministers, transported busloads of children and adults to the country’s cotton fields, where those far from their homes were assigned temporary housing. The workers picked cotton for weeks at a time and were not free to leave. Mobilization is currently under way for the 2013 harvest.

The workers lived in unsanitary conditions, worked from early morning until evening for little or no pay, and some suffered serious injuries and illnesses. Children and youth missed school and college. Adults and older children were required to harvest a minimum of 60 kilograms (or 132 pounds) per day, with younger children required to meet slightly lower quotas.

The Asian Development Bank has made a commitment not to fund activities involving harmful or exploitative forms of forced labor or child labor and to work toward the “elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor.” But the bank has limited its consideration of labor risks related to this project to water sector employees. That restriction is grossly inappropriate, given the known violations of labor rights in cotton production, the economic activity that most benefits from this project, Human Rights Watch and the Cotton Campaign said.

Further, the Uzbek government officials who are responsible for directing the forced labor of children and adults during the cotton harvest also control the irrigation system in the bank’s project area. Worse still, the bank has tapped these same officials to play a key role in the project grievance redress mechanism.

In addition to relying on forced labor, the tightly controlled, highly centralized structure of the cotton sector in Uzbekistan undermines farmers’ incomes. That is contrary to the bank’s commitments for sustainable economic growth that is inclusive and helps the country’s poor, Human Rights Watch and the Cotton Campaign said.

“Uzbek cotton farmers are forced to meet state-established cotton quotas, purchase inputs from one state-owned enterprise, and sell the cotton to a state-owned enterprise at artificially low prices,” said Matthew Fischer-Daly, coordinator at Cotton Campaign, a coalition of human rights, labor, investor, and business organizations dedicated to ending forced labor in the cotton sector of Uzbekistan. “The system traps farmers in poverty, and the state profits from high-priced sales to global buyers.”

On June 11, 2013, the tripartite Committee on the Application of Standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) cited evidence of the “systematic mobilization” of adults and children to pick cotton during Uzbekistan’s 2012 cotton harvest “as well as the substantial negative impact of this practice on the health and education of school-aged children obliged to participate in the cotton harvest.” The committee reiterated its call to Uzbek authorities to invite a high-level ILO observer mission to monitor during the current 2013 harvest.

Also in June, the United States government downgraded Uzbekistan to the lowest category in its human trafficking ranking because of the Uzbek government’s use of forced and child labor.

The current repressive climate for independent civil society organizations in Uzbekistan presents a significant barrier to civic participation and meaningful consultation with those affected by the project. Authorities regularly threaten, imprison, and torture rights defenders and civil society activists, and block international rights groups and media outlets from operating in Uzbekistan. Numerous human rights defenders, independent journalists, and opposition activists are in prison in Uzbekistan in retaliation for their work or criticism of the government.

In September 2012, during the peak of the previous cotton harvest, authorities arrested Uktam Pardaev, a rights activist well known for reporting on police abuses, torture, and forced labor. Pardaev was beaten by several officers during the initial arrest and then held for over 15 days on minor administrative charges of “hooliganism” and “resisting arrest.” Pardaev and other observers believe he was arrested to prevent him from monitoring the use of forced labor of children and adults during the annual harvest.

Human Rights Watch and the Cotton Campaign Recommend that the Asian Development Bank:

Refrain from approving the Modernization and Improved Performance of the Amu Bukhara Irrigation System (ABIS) project until human rights concerns including forced labor and child labor are addressed.
Raise with the Uzbek government, both publicly and privately, concerns about forced labor and other ongoing serious human rights violations in the country, including through the bank’s country strategy for Uzbekistan, and work with the government to address these concerns.
In recognition of the importance of civic participation and social accountability for development, urge the Uzbek government to amend its restrictive laws and practices governing operation of nongovernmental groups to bring them into line with the international human rights standards regarding freedom of association, expression, speech, and assembly.

“The Asian Development Bank has a responsibility to ensure it doesn’t fund projects that violate human rights,” Evans said. “It has not lived up to this responsibility in its proposed Uzbekistan project.”

To read Human Rights Watch’s recent report, “Abuse-Free Development: How the World Bank Should Safeguard Against Human Rights Violations,” please visit:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on forced labor of children and adults in Uzbekistan’s cotton sector, please visit:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Uzbekistan, please visit:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on international financial institutions, please visit:

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[In the news] Ten million children work as domestic servants: ILO -GMA News

Ten million children work as domestic servants: ILO
GMA News
June 12, 2013


GENEVA – As many as 10.5 million children worldwide work as domestic servants, in what can be hazardous and even slave-like conditions, the International Labor Organization said Wednesday.

The UN labor agency said almost three quarters of such youngsters are girls, and that 6.5 million child servants are between five and 14 years old.

The reality on the ground flies in the face of international efforts to halt such exploitation, said Constance Thomas, director of the ILO’s global program to eliminate child labor.

“The situation of many child domestic workers not only constitutes a serious violation of child rights, but remains an obstacle to the achievement of many national and international development objectives,” she said.

Read full article @www.gmanetwork.com

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[In the news] Most young workers in poor countries unemployed or in low-quality jobs – ILO -InterAksyon.com

Most young workers in poor countries unemployed or in low-quality jobs – ILO
By InterAksyon.com
May 9, 2013

InterAksyon logo2MANILA, Philippines – Three in five young workers in some developing countries are either unemployed or trapped in low-quality jobs, indicating a “staggering waste of economic potential,” according to the ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report.

In six of the ten countries surveyed, over 60 percent of young people are either unemployed, working but in low quality, irregular, low wage jobs, often in the informal economy, or neither in the labor force nor in education or training. In Liberia, Malawi and Togo, the figure exceeds 70 percent.

“The waste of economic potential in developing economies is staggering. For an overwhelming number of young people this means a job does not necessarily equal a livelihood,” says Sara Elder, co-author of the report and research specialist for the ILO Youth Employment Program.

Read full article @www.interaksyon.com

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[Press Release] Falsely charged labor leaders plea for investigation, cries due process -CTUHR

Falsely charged labor leaders plea for investigation, cries due process

CTUHR logoFalsely charged labor leaders sought court intervention to drop counts of criminal charges by members of AFP in a preliminary hearing last March 7 in Labo, Camariners Norte Regional Trial Court.

In their pleading, abducted and detained Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, both labor leaders and members Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), together with Amelita Baravante and Roy Velez of Kilusang Mayo Uno, cited prosecutors’ arbitrary proceedings that violate their right to due process.

Prosecutors did not oppose motions to conduct investigation but slammed their motion to quash information and warrant of arrest, which will supposedly release the two detained leaders and drop charges against the two others if approved.

The labor leader’s motion, now submitted for resolution to judge, and will be decided after 30 days.

On December last year, charges of murder linking to twp New People’s Army (NPA) operations in the 49th IB detachment in Camarines Norte and another in Ifugao were slapped against the four labor leaders together with 26 other individuals. These charges became known to the leaders’ relatives days after the abduction of Vegas and Camposano by military agents in two separate locations in Metro Manila. Vegas and Camposano were subsequently detained in Daet District Jail in Camarines Norte.

“No subpoena nor any notice was sent to sent to the them during the preliminary investigation which clearly violates their right to due process. But beyond that, this increasing trend of filing of false charges against trade unionists which is even more alarming as it attacks their right and freedom to unionize,” said Arman Hernando, CTUHR coordinator for documentation.

Charges were filed by main complainant P/ C Insp. Weneco Fuentes of Camarines Norte CIDG backed by the testimonies of members of the 49th IB and intelligence asset who identifies the accused based on his alleged “records”.

Research from labor NGO, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, showed that malicious or trumped up criminal charges against labor leaders and workers, mostly unionists, has more than doubled from an average of 42 individuals charged per year between 2004-2009 to an average of 90 individuals every year between 2010 to 2012. (See link)

“To a large extent, this rise in malicious filing of criminal charges against unionists, not to mention other forms of human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings, can be attributed to the government’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan,” Hernando said.

CTUHR called on to the Aquino administration to drop false charges against unionists and comply with the recommendations of the International Labor Organization (ILO) following ILO’s High Level Mission in 2009.

CTUHR also appealed to the public to urge the government to end oppressive policies such as Oplan Bayanihan. “Counter insurgency programs of past governments have cost many lives and have highly-compromised our freedoms and rights. We are challenged to unite against Op Bay and press the Aquino administration to live up to its promise of straight path and bring an end to human rights violations.” Hernando added.

15 March 2013
for Reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Coordinator for Documentation, +632.411.0256

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[Press Release] Domestic Workers Convention: Labor Rights Treaty to Take Effect -HRW

Domestic Workers Convention: Labor Rights Treaty to Take Effect
Philippines Becomes Second Country to Ratify

(Manila, August 6, 2012) – The Philippines’ ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention will bring the groundbreaking international treaty into legal force, promising better working conditions and key labor protections for millions of domestic workers, Human Rights Watch said today. The convention takes effect one year after the second ratification.

The Philippine Senate ratified the instrument today; President Benigno Aquino III signed it on May 18, 2012, following the treaty’s first ratification, by Uruguay, on April 30.

“The Philippines’ ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention means that basic labor rights for domestic workers are finally becoming a reality,” said Nisha Varia, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “As the treaty goes into effect, millions of women and girls will have the chance for better working conditions and better lives.”

The Domestic Workers Convention sets the first global standards for the estimated 50 to 100 million domestic workers worldwide, the vast majority of whom are women and girls. Domestic workers face a wide range of serious abuses and labor exploitation, including excessive working hours without rest, non-payment of wages, forced confinement, physical and sexual abuse, forced labor, and trafficking. Under the treaty, domestic workers are entitled to protections available to other workers, including weekly days off, limits to hours of work, and minimum wage and social security coverage. The convention also obliges governments to protect domestic workers from violence and abuse, and to prevent child labor in domestic work.

The Philippines has approximately two million domestic workers at home and millions more abroad. Remittances from Filipino migrant domestic workers, mostly women, constitute a significant source of the country’s foreign exchange. Filipinos working abroad send home over US$20 billion per year.

Migrant domestic workers are often at heightened risk of exploitation due to excessive recruitment fees, language barriers, and national policies that link workers’ immigration status to individual employers. Human Rights Watch has documented abuses against Filipino migrant domestic workers in Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, including beatings, confiscation of passports, confinement to the home, overlong working hours with no days off, and in some cases, months or years of unpaid wages.

The Domestic Workers Convention includes specific provisions to protect migrant domestic workers, including detailed requirements to regulate private employment agencies, investigate complaints, and prohibit the practice of deducting from domestic workers’ salaries to pay recruitment fees. The convention also requires that migrant domestic workers receive a written contract that is enforceable in the country of employment and requires governments to strengthen international cooperation to protect domestic workers.

“The Philippines’ leadership in ratifying the convention sets an important example for other countries,” Varia said. “President Aquino and the Philippine Senate should be commended for the ratification. However, the government should move quickly to adopt national legislation to protect domestic workers at home.”

A draft bill, the Philippines’ Domestic Workers Act (“Kasambahay” bill), would raise the minimum wage for Filipino domestic workers, require a written contract, extend social security, and improve protection from violence and abuse. The draft legislation, originally filed in the mid-1990s, has been designated as “urgent” by President Aquino and was adopted by the Senate in 2010. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure in the coming days.

The Philippines chaired two years of negotiations on the Domestic Workers Convention. Hans Cacdac, director of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, chaired the final negotiations leading up to the convention’s adoption by an overwhelming majority of members of the International Labor Organization at the International Labor Conference on June 16, 2011. The Domestic Workers Convention required two ratifications to enter into legal force.

Human Rights Watch has investigated conditions for domestic workers in over 20 countries around the world, documenting routine exclusions from national labor law, exploitation, and labor and criminal abuses. Domestic workers who are children – nearly 30 percent of the total – and migrants are often the most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, Human Rights Watch said.

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on rights for domestic workers, please visit:

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[In the news] Senate ratification gives force to ILO convention on domestic workers -GMANews

Senate ratification gives force to ILO convention on domestic workers
August 6, 2012

The Philippines Senate on Monday concurred with the ratification of International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

Philippine labor secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said that the Senate’s ratification was “historic” as it placed the Philippines at the forefront of the global efforts to promote decent and productive work for household service workers.

The ILO Convention requires the ratification of at least two member states before it enters into force. Uruguay was the first to ratify the treaty last June, with the Philippines now following suit.

“So this puts the Philippines in a unique position with regards the entry into force of ILO Convention 189,” said Baldoz who witnessed the Senate ratification on Monday.

The ILO Convention 189 protects the rights and welfare of domestic workers here and overseas and makes them part of the formal workforce.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

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[In the news] ILO: 2.4 million child laborers in Phl -PhilStar.com

ILO: 2.4 million child laborers in Phl
By Marvin Sy,The Philippine Star
March 25, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – An estimated 2.4 million children with ages ranging from nine to 17 are “employed” across the country, a report from the International Labor Organization said.

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano cited the data yesterday as he called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to step up efforts to curb child labor in the country.

Cayetano expressed concern about the figure and the fact that many of these child laborers are street children who are most vulnerable to exploitation.

He urged the DOLE and DSWD to undertake a joint nationwide campaign aimed at creating higher awareness on child labor and exploitation to protect the vulnerable children against those who exploit their innocence.

“We need to see more government agents checking on industries that hire child laborers and in communities where parents are known to force their children to seek employment,” Cayetano said.

“Government must also be prepared to support both the rehabilitation of the children and the parents,” he added.

Cayetano said he was concerned that a significant number of the child laborers reported by the ILO were engaged in hazardous work.

“Despite being a signatory to various ILO conventions that prevent child labor, the Philippines is known to have one of the largest number of child laborers in the world,” he said.

Read full article @ http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=790746&publicationSubCategoryId=63

[From the web] World Day of Social Justice -UN

World Day of Social Justice
20 February

Let us work together to balance the global economy and build a new social contract for the 21st century. Let us chart a development path that leads to greater social justice and the future we want.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the 2012 World Day of Social Justice


An overcrowded slum area has sprung up within view of the city’s gleaming high-rises.

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity. The adoption by the International Labour Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice. The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.

The General Assembly proclaimed 20 February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly. Observance of World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.

As we look to the upcoming Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, we have a chance to rethink development strategies and business practices so that they point us toward a more sustainable and equitable future. Sustainability depends on building markets that do a better job of spreading the benefits of development. It means meeting growing consumer demand for greener products and services. And it means laying the foundations for dignity, stability and opportunity for all. As we strive to make this transformation, we must integrate social inclusion into our policies and other efforts.

Visit www.un.org

[In the news] DOLE optimistic on passage of labor laws in 2012 – www.gmanetwork.com

DOLE optimistic on passage of labor laws in 2012 
January 13, 2012

 Notwithstanding the attention on the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona when Congress resumes session Jan. 16, the Department of Labor and Employment voiced hopes lawmakers can pass several key labor laws and international instruments.

DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz particularly pushed for the passage of the “Kasambahay” bill that President Benigno Aquino III had endorsed as a priority measure.

“We at the Department take off from President Benigno S. Aquino III’s and the Legislative Development Advisory Council’s endorsement of the Kasambahay bill as a priority measure in the 15th Congress,” Baldoz said.

She said the DOLE has led a series of multi-sectoral consultations with labor, employers, civil society, consumers groups, and homeowners’ associations for a consensus bill on improving the minimum wages and working conditions of close to one million domestic workers or “kasambahays.”

The proposed measure primarily seeks to amend the present minimum wage for domestic workers, which is still pegged at P800.

Baldoz also said she hopes Congress will ratify International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189 on Domestic Workers.

ILO Convention 189 is a labor standard instrument that will accord migrant and domestic workers protection and decent work standards.

The Philippines had shepherded the adoption of the Convention in the 100th ILO Conference in Geneva in June 2011, with the DOLE chairing the ILO Labor Standards Sub-Committee on Domestic Work.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[Event] Asian Domestic Workers holds Regional Conference on the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189) in Manila on Oct. 24-26, 2011

Asian Domestic Workers holds Regional Conference on the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189) in Manila on Oct. 24-26, 2011

Last June 16, 2011, the member countries and delegates during the 100th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) adopted the ILO Convention 189 and Recommendation 201 on decent work for Domestic Workers. C189 provides the framework and governing rules for the recognition of domestic work as work and equal rights for all domestic workers in the world. The Philippine government has been one of the leading countries to support the Convention and has lobbied for its adoption in the ILO in Geneva last June.

Now that domestic workers have a convention, the challenge is to translate its contents into the realities of domestic workers. The Convention for Domestic Workers needs to be ratified by the member countries of the ILO. The Philippines and Uruguay are the first countries to signify immediate ratification of C189. With the support and involvement of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) together with various workers’ organizations and civil society groups in the country, the Philippines will host the post-ILC Asia Regional Conference in Manila on October 24-26, 2011 at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila.

The regional conference has participants from more than 60 foreign delegates from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, East Asia and South Asia. Around 50 participants from the Philippines are also expected to attend. President Benigno Aquino and Secretary Baldoz are also invited to give the keynote speeches to open the regional conference.

The Regional Conference is organized by the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), Global Network Asia, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), International Trade Union Confederation in the Asia and the Pacific (ITUC-AP) and the Technical Working Group (TWG) for Domestic Work in the Philippines in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

A press conference is scheduled on October 25, 2011, 11:30am, Bahia Room, Hotel Intercontinental Manila.

For any questions, you may reach us through Julius Cainglet with the following contact details:
E-mail address: dabigdyul@gmail.com, Tel. Nos.: 09189309475 / 09178553279 / 3321434

[In the news] 3.8M young Pinoys jobless, vulnerable to abuse – InterAksyon.com

3.8M young Pinoys jobless, vulnerable to abuse
12-Aug-11, 10:35 AM | Joseph Holandes Ubalde, InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE – 11:42 a.m.) There are 3.8 million young Filipinos who are either unemployed or vulnerable to abuse in their current jobs, the International Labor Organization said Friday, marking the 11th year since the declaration of International Youth Day.

According to the ILO, of the 3.8 million Filipino youth, 1.5 million are still looking for work despite having invested in their education, while the remaining 2.3 million are forced into work that exposes them to abuse because they have not finished formal schooling.

Lawrence Jeff Johnson, ILO director for the Philippines, warned of a possible “lost generation” as the number of unemployed youth worldwide reached 81 million in 2009, the highest ever recorded.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[Press Release] ECOP’s top industrial relations awardees are union busters – CTUHR

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights is appalled by the Kapatiran sa Industriya (KAPATID) Award given on May 5 by the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to twelve companies, a number of which have records of union busting and labor rights violations.

Thirteen companies were recognized by ECOP for their so-called “excellence in industrial relations, quality and productivity, social accountability, and strategic visioning and partnering for business and job survival.” Of the twelve, four companies namely, Dole Philippines (Dolefil), the Grand Winner as well as Nestle, Toyota, and SM Retail have long records of workers and union rights violations, according to the labor NGO.

The panel of judges was composed of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, ILO-Manila Director Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Dean Jorge Sibal of UP-School of Labor and Industrial Relations, and David Balangue from the private sector.

“ECOP’s handing of awards to one of their own is logical even if the barometer runs counter to international human rights standards. But getting representatives from the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Department of Labor and Employment (ILO) as judges did not only leave bitter taste to the award but also smacks of workers’ right to freedom of association that both institutions supposedly pledged to protect.  The awardees who were recognized for their excellence in industrial peace and social accountability had in fact busted independent and genuine unions in their own companies through combination of legal maneuvers and force,” CTUHR executive director Daisy Arago noted.

Dolefil, Toyota, Nestle: union rights violators

Dolefil, Toyota, and Nestlé have existing complaint at International Labor Organization filed since 2007 and were subjects of investigation of the first ILO High Level Mission (ILO-HLM) in 2009 on serious violations of freedom of association under ILO convention 87 and 98.

“Dolefil’s record of union discrimination and unfair labor practices, harassments including use of the military since 2006 against AMADO-KADENA-NAFLU-KMU was long,” Arago added. “These were even confirmed by SGS auditors for the SAI [Social Accountability International].”

SAI is an international group that gives certification to multinationals that uphold workers rights among other corporate social responsibilities in their respective workplace. SAI, following the SGS audit affirmed the guilt of Dolefil for violations of the right to freedom of association in 2010.

Arago pointed out that this record of rights violation committed by Dolefil was brushed aside by the very statement of ILO Manila director Lawrence Jeff Johnson by saying that ‘Dole has much to be proud of….[as it encompassed] everything we were looking for in our top category: positive employee relations, community service, quality products and environmental responsibility.’

Nestle’s record is even more appalling according to Arago, “Regular workers at Nestlé Philippines in Cabuyao, Laguna who spent 20 years of their lives in the company remain on strike since 2002.  Forty-eight (48) of them already died from various illnesses without receiving proper medical attention, while their previous jobs were handed over to docile and lower-paid contract workers.”

“The killing of Nestlé union president Diosdado Fortuna on September 2005 at the height of strike remains unsolved. So was the killing of Meliton Roxas who was gunned down in front of the picketline in a Nestle strike in 1989. One unionist killed is already too many to raise alarm. But Nestlé Philippines was still awarded for industrial peace and social accountability. And now Nestlé is saying that with this award, it has ‘polished’ its image.”

“Toyota’s case is no different. Independent initiatives of workers to organize union in 2001 were met with mass dismissal of almost 300 union members.” Arago said.

ILO, DOLE’s vote: a slap on trade unionism

Arago said that the ILO’s participation in conferring the awards especially to Dolefil, Nestlé, and Toyota is particularly disconcerting, “It was like striking a dagger at the very heart of independent trade unions who have come to the ILO for support if not justice, when both capital and government had ganged on them. ILO’s endorsement of this award to union rights violators is tantamount to closing its doors to genuine unions that had mastered the courage to challenge the system that perpetuates violations and refuse to become objects of repression.”

“Equally, we are dismayed with the Department of Labor and Employment under Aquino for not even pretending to be neutral, and shedding any façade of pro workers stance. Could the awarding which happened almost in the nick of inaugurating Aquino administration’s first year of office an open statement or a warning of what it would be like for workers in the next five years? The indications are far from the promised straight path and we could not help but become wary of the kind of ‘industrial peace’ the Aquino administration is pursuing” Arago added.

30 June 2011
for reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, +63910.380.1897

[From the web] New International Convention on Domestic Workers Rights Must Be Respected by Governments, Says Global Union Body


Brussels, 16 June 2011 (ITUC OnLine): The International Trade Union Confederation today welcomed the historical adoption of the Domestic Workers Convention and Recommendation by the International Labour Organisation, but called on the ILO to ensure governments around the world were put on notice about protecting the millions of people in the domestic work sphere.

With many millions of migrant workers in domestic labor around the world, the ITUC said that without proper monitoring, these workers would continue to suffer violent and oppressive employment conditions,   exploitative recruitment agencies, remuneration below legal minimums, nonpayment of wages, exclusion from social security schemes, excessive working hours, and the worst forms of child domestic labour .

“The adoption of this Convention is a great victory, and we call upon all governments to ratify and implement it and upon the  ILO to provide clear  guidance  to these countries that need to   improve their  laws to protect domestic workers’ rights in their economies,” General Secretary of the ITUC, Ms. Sharan Burrow, said.

The ITUC has reported on widespread oppression and violence against migrant domestic workers in the Gulf. These migrant women workers come mainly from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

“The international union movement will continue to shed light on the working conditions of migrant domestic workers in the Gulf Countries, in particular Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain,” Ms. Burrow said.

“It is not acceptable that in countries with strong economies and a lot of personal wealth, we have an underclass of domestic slaves, whose passports are taken when they arrive, and who have no one to turn to if their employer treats them with violence or harassment,” Ms. Burrow said.

Ms Burrow called on the ILO to develop an action plan specifically for the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention in the Gulf.

There are an estimated 2.1 million migrant  domestic workers,  83% are women and it is estimated that in total, domestic work accounts for no less than 7.5 per cent of female wage employment worldwide.

“Finally, domestic workers are recognised as ‘workers’. Their long-standing demands for equal treatment with other workers are now embedded in the Convention and Recommendation. It is not a day too early. The IUF, which is the global union federation for food, hotel and allied workers, along with the International Domestic Workers’ Network welcome the good spirit in which the final negotiations were carried out. We now call upon all governments to put into law and practice what the Convention contains. This would change the lives of millions of domestic workers and their families for the better”, says IUF General Secretary, Ron Oswald.

Welcoming the adoption of the Convention and Recommendations Peter Waldorff, General Secretary of Public Services International, says, “Millions of workers, mainly women, provide care services daily to vulnerable people in their homes – services which should be provided by the State. These workers are often part of an invisible workforce with little or no legal protections. This Convention should help rectify this appalling situation and we call on Governments to ratify and implement it without delay”.

The Convention on Domestic Workers passed today at the International Labour Organisation, after many years of campaigning by unions, migrants’ and women’s organisations around the world, is a benchmark: it is a key instrument to ensure that workers in informal and precarious jobs have an effective access to decent work.

About the Convention:

The Convention gives the millions of domestic workers around the world the same rights as other workers. Until now, most domestic workers belonged to what is called the informal economy. Once ratified, this Convention has the potential to take millions of workers out of the shadow economy and formalise their employment. The Convention, first and foremost, recognises the right of domestic workers to organise in unions, which is still forbidden in many countries. This change should allow them to negotiate and improve their working conditions.

For more information on the Convention, see the spotlight interview with Marieke Koning (ITUC-Equality) at: http://www.ituc-csi.org/spotlight-interview-with-marieke.html

See related ITUC publications:

–              ITUC Action Guide on Domestic Workers: http://www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-action-guide-decent-work.html

–              Living in Economic Insecurity: Women in Precarious Forms of Work: http://www.ituc-csi.org/living-with-economic-insecurity.html

For further information, please contact Mathieu Debroux at +32 476 621 018 or +32 2 224 0204 or send an email to mathieu.debroux@ituc-csi.org   or press@ituc-csi.org

The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 151 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates. Website: http://www.ituc-csi.org and http://www.youtube.com/ITUCCSI

[Press Release] PALEA holds motorcade vs. temporary outsourcing plan

Dark clouds are gathering over the airport as another dispute over a temporary outsourcing arrangement threatens the tense calm between the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the union Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA). In a sign of renewed stormy labor relations, PALEA held a motorcade this afternoon to protest PAL’s plan to hire on June 16 contractual workers from Lucio Tan-owned service provider MacroAsia.

“We are ready to defend our jobs and the union if PAL does not back down from deploying contractual workers on Thursday. We call on PALEA members to remain vigilant until there is a firm commitment from PAL for direct hiring instead of temporary outsourcing,” stated Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and Partido ng Manggagawa vice chair. As of today no agreement has been reached by management and the union on the issue.

PALEA members assembled by 2:30 p.m. at their headquarters in Paranaque for the protest action. The motorcade then proceeded to PAL’s In-Flight Center near the Centennial Terminal and then on to the Nichols gate where other company offices are located.

The national flag carrier is facing an acute manpower shortage for passenger handling due to the exodus of customer service agents who have sought greener pastures abroad. PAL asked PALEA for cooperation in allowing MacroAsia to work the departure gates for a period of six months.

The union immediately rejected the plan but offered to help in rehiring former PAL employees and recalling trainees who were not hired due to a freeze hiring program. Last June 9 PALEA submitted a partial list of people interested in the position of customer service agents.

The embattled union considers the temporary outsourcing plan a “backdoor implementation” of the controversial contractualization plan at PAL. The legality of the contractualization scheme is pending on appeal at the Office of the President while a related but separate case regarding PAL’s refusal to bargain with PALEA is due for decision at the National Labor Relations Commission. PALEA is also coordinating with the global union International Transport Workers Federation for a complaint to be filed at the International Labor Organization against the Philippine government and PAL management for violation of conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining.

PALEA is arguing that the temporary outsourcing of regular jobs to MacroAsia is a violation of the April 1 order of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz enjoining management and the union from engaging in any act that will exacerbate the labor dispute at PAL. Baldoz had imposed an assumption of jurisdiction order on the labor row at PAL which stopped PALEA from a planned strike last April.

Press Release
June 13, 2011

[In the news] UN: 115 million kids work risky jobs | Sun.Star

UN: 115 million kids work risky jobs | Sun.Star.

GENEVA — U.N. labor officials said 115 million children worldwide are working in hazardous jobs with the brunt of the hardship being felt by teenage boys.

The International Labor Organization reported Friday that more than half the world’s 215 million child laborers are working in dangerous jobs in fields like agriculture, mining and construction.

The head of ILO’s program to eliminate child labor said the number aged 15 to 17 rose by 20 percent in the latest figures — with boys most susceptible because of recent international attention to the plight of young girls — though there was an overall decline among children aged 5 to 17. (AP)

[Urgent Action/Solidarity] support for 10 Vietnamese workers unjustly arrested in South Korea simply for demanding better conditions

From:  <pssp@jinbo.net>
To: jerbertph@yahoo.com
Sent: Saturday, June 4, 2011 7:58:46 PM
Subject: Requesting Solidarity for Vietnamese workers in SK unjustly arrested for work action

Greeting friends and allies,

I am writing to ask for your support for 10 Vietnamese workers unjustly arrested in South Korea simply for demanding better conditions. This is a clear case of the criminalization of documented migrant workers in South Korea and of labor repression. Background information on the case follows.

PSSP is participating in an emergency committee formed to support these workers and fight for their release. The committee includes several labor and social justice movement organizations in South Korea.

A petition to be submitted to the presiding judge in the case is attached. To show your support, please sign it and by fax or email to 82-32-576-8113 or ahihihi@hanmail.net.

We are also collecting petitions in South Korea. All petitions will be submitted to the judge together on June 8 (Korean time.)


Recently 10 Vietnamese migrant workers working in South Korea were arrested, detained and brought to the trial.

The Prosecutor’s Office has charged them with several crimes including obstruction of business, group violence, mob assault and assault with a deadly weapon. The prosecution is claiming the Vietnamese migrant workers carried out an illegal strike. In its letter of indictment the prosecution claims that the workers who were arrested had led the strike and used threats and force to make other workers participate.

All those arrested are documented migrant workers who entered South Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS). If they are convicted, they are highly likely to face deportation under the Immigration Control Act.

The 10 individuals had been among 200 Vietnamese workers employed to construct the substructure of a container wharf at the Incheon New Port last year.

<Working Conditions>

KRW 4,110/hour wage (minimum wage).
12-hour shifts from 7:00 to 19:00 (Lunch break: 12:00-13:00). The company almost always ran two shifts, one from 7:00 to 19:00 and one from 19:00 to 7:00.
Work on Saturday and Sunday even though the employment contract stipulated a Monday to Friday work week.
Only 1 meal a day (lunch) provided free of charge. The cost of breakfast and lunch (KRW 240,000 a month) was deducted from wages. For this reason, the major demand during the strike was the provision of three meals a day. The company offered breakfast and dinner for free from April to May, 2010. But it notified the workers it would offer only lunch for free beginning in July. Many workers who had worked since April staged a walkout and refused to work.

<1st Strike: July 22 to 25, 2010>

Beginning at 7 o’clock in the morning on the 22th of July, 2010, roughly two hundred Vietnamese workers went on a walkout. The walkout continued until 7 o’clock in the evening on the 25th of July, 2010.

The workers made the following demands:

That they be provided three meals a day, free of charge.
That the not be forced to work at night against their will.
That they be allowed to have friends visit them in company-provided living quarters.
That they be allowed to have food, drink and alcohol in their living quarters.

*The company argued that the strike caused losses worth KRW 1 billon. It said it was forced to hired local workers and had to paid extra to rent equipment for an extended period of time.

<2nd Strike: January 9 to 10, 2010>
Most of the Vietnamese workers went on a walkout against beginning on January 9,, 2011. In response, the company changed its policy. It reduced recognized work hours from 12 to 11 hours (The workers worked for 12 hours from 7:00 to 19:00pm, with a lunch break from 12:00 to 1:00pm). The company had previously recognized 12 working hours including 4 hours of overtime work.
*The company argued the second strike caused losses worth KRW 109 million.

<Arrest and Trial>

The 10 Vietnamese migrants continued to be employed and worked after the strike.

Some of those who were arrested had only begun to work in July 2010. As such, they were not in the condition to lead the first strike.

The 10 workers were arrested in March and April 2011, and were charged with interfering with the business, group violence, and mob assault with a deadly weapon.

At a hearing on May 26, the prosecution asked that the workers be given prison sentences of 3 years to 2 of the workers, 1 year and 6 months to 1 worker, 1 year to 6 workers and 1 year suspended for 2 years to 1 worker.

The next hearing in the case will be on June 9.

[Urgent Appeal] Justice for Dusit Hotel Workers

Dear Friends,

The undersigned is the current Executive Director of the Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN) a trade union ngo founded after the EDSA Revolution in 1986 in the Philippines .

Prior to my work in LEARN, i was the local president of the NUWHRAIN-Dusit Hotel Nikko Chapter, which is an affiliate of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and the IUF.

While we are supposed to be a democratic society, our constitutional right to freedom of expression and association in the context of labor relations is being undermined by the decision of Justice Presbitero Velasco of the Philippine Supreme Court. Not only it is anomalous but also unconstitutional.

The issue pertains not only to us but to all workers in the Philippines since the decision penned by Justice Presbitero Velasco of the 2nd Division of the Court ruled, by twisted and tortured logic, that by exercising our right to freedom of expression by shaving our heads will be treated as an illegal strike – despite the absence of work stoppage and slowdown. Far worse would be the plight of public sector workers, having no right to strike and full bargaining rights, with this decision their right to peaceful and lawful concerted activities will now be undermined as well.

Fortunately, because of the complaint of the IUF along with other 19 Philippine trade union organization cutting across the political spectrum, was one of the 8 cases investigated by the ILO High Level Mission in the Philippines in September 2009. Last November 2010, the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association disagrees with Philippine Supreme Court decision and finding the Philippine Government of violating ILO Convention 87 and 98.

it is a welcome development for us, however nothing substantial has happened until now. So we are now appealing to you and help us in our campaign. Hereunder is a link to a video documentary entitled “Hoy Kalbo Tanggal ka sa Trabaho (Hey Baldhead Your Fired!) as well as a petition on-line addressed to our President. Similarly, we also would like to request your help if you could also fax an attached letter to our President as well as the Department of Labor Secretary of your support and concern to our plight. We request further if you could share it with your friends as widely as possible. It will be a big help to our cause. Finally, we enjoin all our friends not to patronize the Dusit Thani Hotel Manila.

link to the video:

link to the petition:

Thank you in advance for your support and solidarity. if you need further information just write to us and will be willing to reply as soon as possible.

We remain.

Rey C. Rasing
(P.S. if you faxed the petition letter,if you have time is it possible to inform us?)

[Statement] Asian Parliamentarians Forum on Migrant Workers Manila Statement – 24-26 May 2011 – www.mfasia.org


We, Asian Parliamentarians from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka have come together on the eve of the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference. This is a monumental occasion at which the tripartite constituents of the ILO will negotiate the text for an ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, supplemented with aRecommendation. This new international treaty would establish, for the first time, global labour standards for this historically neglected group of workers.

We have collectively deliberated on the vulnerability of Migrant Domestic Workers in a number of host countries, and we recognize the pressing need for strong support of this landmark Convention, setting the minimum framework for national legislation that recognizes the contribution that migrant domestic workers make to the development of both their home and host countries.

The United Nations estimates that a large proportion of the 62 million migrant workers in Asia1 are women who are mostly employed in domestic work. Migrant domestic workers from labour-sending countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka, work in households in wealthier countries across Asia and the Middle East. Major destination countries include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. While some migrant domestic workers have positive experiences, our recent field investigations in a number of destination
countries show that many others face the risk of abuse at all stages of the migration process, with serious lack of protection measures and access to justice in destination countries. This is also verified by parliamentarians’ reports of inhumane living and working conditions confronting most domestic workers in the Gulf States.2

Acknowledging that most countries do not include domestic workers in their labour laws, it is imperative that as the ILO begins its deliberations on an international convention, parliamentarians from both labour sending and receiving countries, who have largely
remained on the periphery of deliberations on migration policy, urgently convene around parliamentary processes for the drafting of national legislation that recognizes the rights of domestic workers, the minimum standards for which will be stipulated in the
forthcoming ILO Convention.

To ensure that migrant work is not commodified, and that migrant worker communities are not played off against one another, it is imperative that sending countries unite and agree on a common strategy to urge receiving countries to adopt laws and regulations that promote the interests and welfare of migrant workers.

Recognizing previous attempts at the ASEAN level to promote a greater understanding of migrant worker issues among parliamentarians, and encouraged by the establishment of a committee tasked with crafting instruments to promote the protection of migrant workers within the region, we urge our respective governments to adopt and implement without further delay, a legallybinding instrument of protection for ALL migrant workers within ASEAN.

We call for the formation of an Asia-wide parliamentarians’ caucus on migrant workers to cooperate in the enactment of legislation that would promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers and their families, and in overseeing the implementation of these
laws and multilateral agreements.

Furthermore, we commit to bringing this strong sense of solidarity and collaboration to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly that will meet in Cambodia in September, 2011.
Finally, we commit to supporting an ILO Convention setting out international standards on decent work for domestic workers, and to work towards the creation and adoption of national legislation that reflects the same.

Signed at Manila by:
Mr. Md. Israfil Alam
Member of Parliament, Bangladesh
Chairman, Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment
Chairman, Extreme Poverty Cluster of All Party Parliamentary Group

Mr. Shantha Bandara
Member of Parliament, Kurunegala District
Sri Lanka

Representative Walden Bello
Chair, Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs
Philippine House of Representatives

Mr. Mustaque Ahmed Ruhi
Member of Parliament, Bangladesh
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment

His Excellency Son Chhay
Member of the Cambodian National Assembly

Mr. Shehan Semasinghe
Member of Parliament, Anuradhapura District
Sri Lanka

Ms. Eva Kusuma Sundari
Member of Parliament, Indonesia
Commission for Law and Human Rights,
Special Team on Migrant Workers

1 UN DESA 2009
2 In January 2011, the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs of the Philippines sent a delegation of 5 parliamentarians to
Saudi Arabia. In April 2011, the Indonesian parliament also sent a delegation to Saudi Arabia. Both delegations
investigated the living conditions of migrant workers from their respective countries.

(Dear Friends,

From May 24-26, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), the Philippine House Committee on Overseas Workers’ Affairs (COWA), and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) welcomed Parliamentarians from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka to Manila for the Parliamentarians’ Forum on Migrant Domestic Workers.

At the invitation of COWA, our guest parliamentarians joined its Committee Meeting on Wednesday, May 25th to discuss the need for regional cooperation on the issues of migrant domestic workers in Asia, and to engage in a dialogue on ensuring protection for migrant domestic workers from the region. On May 26th, MFA hosted a series of workshops designed to encourage learning and exchange of information among parliamentarians, with civil society organizations taking on a facilitative function, on the changing response of stakeholders to migrant domestic workers’ issues in receiving states, and the roles of parliamentarians in engaging in this important area.

The statement attached is the culmination of the event which outlines the shared commitments of Parliamentarians from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, especially on their countries’ support for the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

The Parliamentarians call for the formation of an Asia-wide parliamentarians’ caucus on migrant workers to cooperate in the enactment of legislation that would promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers and their families, and in overseeing the implementation of these laws and multilateral agreements.

Furthermore, they commit to bringing this strong sense of solidarity and collaboration to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly that will meet in Cambodia in September, 2011.

Finally, Parliamentarians from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka commit to supporting an ILO Convention setting out international standards on decent work for domestic workers, and to work towards the creation and adoption of national legislation that reflects the same.

The full statement is attached to this email, together with photos and news articles covering the event. You can also access the documents on the MFA website, http://www.mfasia.org

Courage, Peace, Power in a life full of meaning.

William Gois

–Migrant Forum in Asia
85-C Masikap Extension, Central District
Diliman, Quezon City 1100 Philippines
Telephone: (+63 2) 928-2740
Telefax:  (+63 2) 433-3508
Mobile:    (+63) 921-540-5063
Email:    mfa@pacific.net.hk
Web: http://www.mfasia.org)

[Press Release] PALEA attends NLRC hearing but will raise dispute to ILO

The officers of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) attended the hearing of the labor dispute with Philippine Airlines (PAL) concerning the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) at the National Labor Relations Commission this afternoon. However on Wednesday, PALEA will push through with filing a complaint at the International Labor Organization for violation of conventions on freedom of association, collective bargaining and the right to strike.

“The fight continues. We will exhaust all avenues in order to protect the regular jobs and improve the working conditions of PAL employees. The Philippines is party to international conventions that protect the rights of workers to form unions, negotiate CBA’s and hold strikes. But with government connivance, PAL is trying to bust PALEA through its outsourcing plan and is prolonging a 12-year CBA moratorium by refusing to negotiate,” Rivera explained.

This morning PALEA joined other supporters in the filing of the nomination of its lawyer Atty. Marlon Manuel for the post of Ombudman. “After the disaster of Merceditas Gutierrez, it is high time that the post of Ombudsman is assumed by a person of principles and resolve. Atty. Manuel’s track record of lawyering for farmers and workers fighting against giant companies such as San Miguel and PAL speaks for itself. PALEA might lose a brilliant counsel but the country will gain a competent Ombudsman,” Rivera elaborated. Atty. Manuel accompanied the PALEA officers in the NLRC hearing this afternoon.

On Thursday, the House Labor Committee investigates the labor dispute at PAL. PALEA and Partido ng Manggagawa will mobilize its members for the hearing. “The hearing will be an opportunity for PALEA to confront PAL in a venue that is open to the public and media. In this arena, PAL management will be forced to argue its case in the glare of media cameras and lawmakers questions. We are prepared for this confrontation with PAL management,” Rivera asserted.

Press Release
May 16, 2011
Contact Gerry Rivera @ 09157755073

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