Tag Archives: Trade union

[Resources] 55 cases of TUHR violations recorded on the first half of 2014 -CTUHR Monitor Online

55 cases of TUHR violations recorded on the first half of 2014
CTUHR MONITOR ONLINE

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) recorded 55 cases of trade union and human rights violations (TUHRVs) from January to June this year. Violations consist of encroachment on civil liberties of some 164 of workers and trade unionists as well as workplace and union-related violations of another 7,811 individuals.

CTUHR logo

Fabrication of criminal charges is the most prevalent violation in the said period with nine cases filed against 20 individuals mostly unionists and union organizers. CTUHR documentation notes that these trumped-up charges are filed by either companies or state forces to harass resisting workers, to curtail worker protest, to prevent union organizing or to implicate unionists in the armed insurgency. Criminal charges range from offenses as light as ‘physical injuries,’ ‘direct assault on person in authority’ to more serious crimes such as ‘violation of law on firearms, ammunition and explosives,’ ‘arson,’ and ‘murder.’ At least four out of the nine charges have been dismissed by state or city prosecutors to date.

Read full article @ctuhr.org

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[Press Release] 2013 Labor climate more hostile to unions, workers’ rights – CTUHR

2013 Labor climate more hostile to unions, workers’ rights – CTUHR

Labor situation in 2013 was more hostile to unions and workers rights, labor NGO, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights reported citing trends of increasing labor standard violations, persistent trade union attacks, dramatic decrease in new union registrants, and arbitration mechanisms that undercut workers’ struggle.

CTUHR logo

Violations of labor standards nearly doubled in the past three years from 30 percent of total number of enterprises inspected by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2011 to 56.8 percent in 2013. CTUHR also documented numerous victims of trade union and human rights violations last year: killings (2), disappearance (1), harassment and threat (288), arbitrary arrests (28), filing of malicious and false charges (33), dismissal amid labor dispute (242).

At least 10 union busting cases with a total membership of 1,034 workers were recorded by the group. Four (4) of these unions were busted during certification election, another four (4) during collective bargaining negotiations and two (2) right after the CBA negotiations.

Conversely, the number of new union registrants was slashed by 50 percent from 2012 to 2013 from 38,180 workers (2012) down to 19,216 workers in (2013). As such, percentage of unionized workers is still very low, only 8.5 percent (1.85 million) of the total number of wage and salary workers.

The group stressed that the decreasing number of new union registrants is in itself a problem. “It is reflective of how repressive the labor conditions have become so that workers themselves are no longer encouraged or even afraid to form unions,” Arman Hernando documentation coordinator explained.

“But this downward trend in new unions becomes more disturbing when we look at the growing violations. Unions are supposedly effective in providing protection to workers against labor rights violations, with less and less workers forming unions, workers become more susceptible to abuse from capitalists,” Hernando added.

The group also criticized old and new arbitration mechanisms which the government employs to maintain industrial peace.

“The government’s framework in achieving industrial peace is highly-biased to the employer. Issues of illegal dismissal, union busting are often reduced to economic and financial terms. They are forced to accept money in exchange of their tenure and, or their union,” Hernando said.

Last year, labor disputes were recorded in 55,171 enterprises. All of these underwent various forms of arbitration-mediation processes. Only 104 of these were strike notices and only six of these strike notices materialized into actual strikes.

“With very few strikes launched, the government is able to boast of achieving industrial peace. But this does not mean there are less violation of workers’ rights and that workers now have better working conditions. If any, it only means that the methods of achieving industrial peace have discretely quelled workers’ dissent to ensure a favorable environment for business,” Hernando added.###

For reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Documentation Coordinator, +63.923.819.3737

RELEASE
31 January 2014

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[Statement] Labor Yearender: PAL-PALEA settlement to impact on labor relations -PM

Labor Yearender: PAL-PALEA settlement to impact on labor relations

Undoubtedly the biggest labor story for the year was the settlement of the long-running dispute between Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA). It hardly made it to the news though as the historic deal ran smack of biggest story of the year—supertyphoon Yolanda. At the height of Yolanda and with howling winds buffeting their picketline, PALEA members voted to ratify the agreement.

The settlement provides for the rehiring as regular workers of some 600 PALEA members who were retrenched in 2011 but refused to accept the outsourcing scheme. The process of PALEA members applying for re-employment has started and PAL is mandated to give them priority for hiring in regular positions. The agreement also grants an improved separation package of 200% per year of service and P150,000 in gratuity pay.

The settlement of the labor dispute over outsourcing will have repercussions far beyond the PAL and are highly significant for the challenge presented by precarious work to workers, employers and the state.

The victorious resistance of PALEA against contractualization and the vigorous campaign it has engendered puts into question the popular view that precarious work is a global trend that cannot be rolled back. In fact just weeks after the PAL-PALEA agreement was signed, 500 contractual mining workers in Cebu won regularization after mass actions by the union PAMCC. The PAMCC union in the Toledo City-based Carmen Copper Corp., one of the biggest mines in the country, was active in the PALEA solidarity campaign in Cebu and was directly inspired by the outcome of the PAL dispute.

Indeed well before the settlement was signed and just two months after the implementation of the outsourcing plan, the dispute already changed the landscape of industrial relations. In November 2011, the Department of Labor and Employment issued DO 18-A to spell out new regulations over contracting and subcontracting arrangements arguably in the face of an outcry from organized labor about the retrenchment of 2,400 workers at PAL.

Arguably resistance saved PALEA’s regular jobs. If they had accepted rather than fought outsourcing then they would have become contractual workers trapped in an endless cycle of 6-month endo jobs. Or worse they would have become unemployed in a jobless growth economy. Instead some 600 PALEA members will be returning to their regular jobs in the coming weeks.

Labor groups, both in the country and abroad, have hailed PALEA’s victory as a victory for all workers. Meanwhile PALEA has expressed its gratitude for the fervent solidarity of workers, community and Church groups which launched protests, lobbying and a boycott campaign. While difficult to assess, the boycott contributed to PAL’s P2.19 billion in losses due to reduced passenger revenues just for the first half of its latest fiscal year.

PALEA’s campaign combined old school tactics of struggle and modern means of organizing solidarity. PALEA’s fight struck a sympathetic chord in the international labor movement and thus two global days of actions involved protests in airports and embassies across four continents. PALEA members used Facebook to maintain contact, exchange ideas, call for action and solicit support. PALEA was a trending topic on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the airport protest as allies and critics debated in cyberspace, and again during the impeachment trial of the Supreme Court Chief Justice when it was exposed that he received “platinum cards” as gift from PAL.

The coming year will see how far the outcome of PAL-PALEA labor dispute can reverberate outside industrial relations at the flag carrier.

http://partidongmanggagawa2001.blogspot.com/2013/12/labor-yearender-pal-palea-settlement-to.html?spref=fb

Press Statement
December 27, 2013
Partido ng Manggagawa

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Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR WEBSITES.

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR WEBSITES.

HR WEBSITE LOGOAng botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59PM ng Nov 15, 2013.

IKAW PARA KANINO KA PIPINDOT? Simple lang bumoto:

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Makiisa sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon hinggil sa karapatang pantao. Pindot na!

WHAT IS 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS? https://hronlineph.com/2013/10/01/3rd-human-rights-pinduteros-choice-awards/

————-

FINALISTS FOR HR WEBSITE

1. http://clrdc.wordpress.com

CHILDREN’S LEGAL RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER, INC.

1 CLRD

is a non-stock, non-profit legal resource human rights organization for children committed to advancing children’s rights and welfare through the provision of its services based on human rights developmental framework approach and methodologies.

2. http://philrights.org

PHILIPPINE HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION CENTER

2 PHILRIGHTS

PhilRights envisions a just, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Philippines founded on a culture of human rights and gender equity. It envisions a society where each individual is able to fully realize one’s potential as a human person, to participate effectively in the economic, political and cultural life, and to share equitably in the benefits of economic progress.

3. http://phildeafres.org

PHILIPPINE DEAF RESOURCE CENTER

3 PDRC

To serve as a nationwide center for the Filipino Deaf community, and its individual and collective stakeholders, in the various needs, challenges and issues that concern it, by:

Encouraging, conducting and commissioning RESEARCH, particularly on sign language linguistics and interpreting, employment and livelihood, education, health and counseling, policy-making and legislation, media and technology, and Deaf culture and the arts;

Gathering and providing INFORMATION through the development of materials, and their publication and dissemination by print or electronic means; and

serving as a NETWORKING support for caregivers of the Deaf, advocates for the community, and Deaf organizations.

4. http://ctuhr.org

CENTER FOR TRADE UNION AND HUMAN RIGHTS

4 CTUHR

CTUHR is committed to the cause of advancing genuine, democratic, nationalist and militant trade unionism. It is against all forms of deception and coercion that seeks to derail this cause. The Center believes that repression can and has taken on different and subtle forms like labour legislations, and flexible employment schemes, amongst others and therefore devotes herself to exposing these devious moves.

5. http://find.org.ph

FAMILIES OF VICTIMS OF INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCE

5 FIND

FIND untiringly searches for the disappeared and fights for justice through participative empowerment of its members. It upholds and actively works for the protection of human rights, particularly the protection of persons from enforced or involuntary disappearance, and links arms with local and international groups working for justice and peace in the spirit of respect, trust and mutual cooperation.

6. http://amnesty.org.ph

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

6 AIPH

is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights to be respected and protected for everyone.

7. http://philippinehumanrights.org

PHILIPPINE ALLIANCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES

7 PAHRA

PAHRA envisions a just, democratic, and peaceful Philippines founded on human rights culture. It envisions a society where there is gender equity, recognition of multiculturalism, environmental protection, and sustainable development. As such, all individuals and peoples are able to fully realize their potentials, participate and contribute in the economic, political, social and cultural life of society, and share equitably in the benefits of economic progress.

8. http://alyansatigilmina.net

ALYANSA TIGIL MINA

8 ATM

The Alyansa Tigil Mina was born out of the collective concern of Non-Government Organizations, People’s Organizations and other Civil Society Groups against the impending threat of the revitalization of the mining industry in the Philippines. In mid-2004, NGOs/ POs, decided to disengage from a series of consultations convened by the DENR regarding the revitalization of the mining industry.

9. http://humanrightsdefenderspilipinas.wordpress.com

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS–PILIPINAS

9 HRD

HRDP was born-out from the series of campaigns of civil society organizations against the rising phenomenon of extra-judicial killings of human rights workers and activists in Philippines in 2006. This was highlighted with the official visit of the UN Special Rapporteur onSummary Execution Prof. Phillip Alston in March 2007; and, its subsequent report and recommendations on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council.

10. http://balayph.net

BALAY REHABILITATION CENTER

10 BALAY

The word balay, in many dialects in the Philippines, means a house, a shelter or a home. The name itself depicts protection, safety, and nurturance of well-being. In the course of the organization’s existence, the word balay have also signified a space where the people can work towards empowerment and development.

[Press Release] Labor group blames regressive policies for rising unemployment -CTUHR

Labor group blames regressive policies for rising unemployment

CTUHR logo

“The trend in rising unemployment is clear proof of the government’s regressive economic and labor policies.”

This is what Arman Hernando, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights coordinator for documentation said in reaction to the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) that revealed an increase in unemployment rate from 7% in July 2012 up to 7.3% in July 2013.

Hernando noted that the latest survey underlines the paradox of growth, “[w]hile the country’s GDP is steadily growing, there is also a trend in increased unemployment rate,” pointing out a rise in unemployment rate for the last two quarters.

The group explained that Aquino’s economic policies favoring foreign capital and promoting neoliberal globalization effectively “stunt” job-generating sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing and result to increased unemployment.

Hernando also chided the government’s passive role in providing employment opportunities to “able and willing” Filipinos. “The government has relegated its role from job generation to mere employment facilitation. Other than inviting foreign investors and exporting Filipinos abroad, the Aquino government has no concrete policy on how it will create jobs,” Hernando added.

Unemployment and depressed wages are clear manifestations of social injustice perpetuated by current policies, the group further stressed.

“Take for instance, wage. While the government is so stringent in regulating wage hike on the one hand, it is giving so much freedom in terms of tax breaks among other incentives to capitalists on the other hand. But despite so much effort in keeping wages low, it appears that investors fail to bring in enough jobs for Filipinos since unemployment is still on the rise.” Hernando pointed out.

The group concluded that only a progressive economic policy aimed at developing and supporting national industries will end the job crisis and generate sufficient and decent work for Filipinos.

For reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Coordinator for Documentation, +63411.0256.

RELEASE
12 September 2013

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[Press Release] Labor group hits gov’t, management response to child labor in Agusan palm oil plantation -CTUHR

Labor group hits gov’t, management response to child labor in Agusan palm oil plantation

CTUHR logo

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights slammed the Department of Labor and Employment and Filipinas Palm Oil Plantation Inc.(FPPI) response to child labor issue in the said company saying that the Anti-Child Labor Program developed by the Technical Working Group (TWG) are “far weaker than palliatives” and “deceiving the workers”.

CTUHR described the interventions made by the management and various government agencies as “a positive result” of the report released last October 2012 which exposed that 24% of workers in oil palm plantations are below 18 years old. However, the group was also quick to criticize the proposals made by the Technical Working Group. Daisy Arago, CTUHR Executive Director expressed, “The recommendations are far weaker than palliatives because they fail to address the root causes of child labor like below minimum wage rates, long term contractualization among others.”

Recently, the TWG adopted two courses of action as part of the Anti-Child Labor Program adopted in FPPI. These are 1) prohibiting and monitoring cases of child labor in FPPI and 2) provision of school buses for the children living inside the plantation.

“Merely prohibiting or monitoring child labor in FPPI is rubbish if issues of contractual work and depressed wages are not substantially addressed. This line of thinking only puts the blame back to the parents, the workers themselves, rather than to the exploitative conditions perpetuated by the FPPI management that pushes young family members to work in the plantation to increase family income,” Arago added.

Arago also hit the proposal to provide school buses saying such action is “useless if the workers cannot even afford to send their children to school since their wages are insufficient for their food expenses.”

The group said that these recommendations will not stop child labor, rather it will only push children to find work outside the plantation to augment their family needs.

Meanwhile CTUHR also denounced FPPI management’s move to stop hiring contractual workers as decietful.

“Instead of reinstating the 268 contractual workers as regular employees, they used the workers’ complaint against long-term contractualization to not hire these workers back. And although FPPI is no longer hiring casual workers directly, they are using the ‘cabo’ system wherein regular workers hire casual workers,” Arago averred.

In November last year, nearly 300 contractual workers were unjustly dismissed by FPPI after the DOLE held an ocular inspection of the company’s compliance to labor standards. The said inspection was prompted by the local union complaint about numerous cases of underpayment of wages, long-term casualization and absence of several benefits.

Arago expressed rage as well over the result of the tripartite discussion that emphasized the workers role in increasing the plantation’s productivity rather than addressing labor issues, “The way FPPI and DOLE managed to make it appear that child labor and casual work is stopped and then pass on the responsibility to increase productivity to the workers is brazenly sly,” Arago added.

The group reiterated their report’s recommendation to end child labor in FPPI and other palm oil plantations in Agusan and 1) implement the minimum wage rates for all employees, 2) regularize all casual workers who have worked in the FPPI for more than a year and 3) provide access to employment, livelihood and other services to families living inside the palm oil plantations.

RELEASE
13 August 2013
For reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director CTUHR, +632.411.0256

[Press Release] CTUHR reports rampant violations of union rights under Aquino

CTUHR reports rampant violations of union rights under Aquino

CTUHR logo

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights reported of rampant union rights violations within the first half of Aquino’s presidency. The group cited 132 documented cases of violations to workers right to freely organize that victimized over 20,000 workers and other forms of human rights violations.

Violations of workers’ freedom to organize (also referred to as freedom of association or FOA) documented by CTUHR include non-recognition of unions, union busting, harassment of unionists inside the workplace, intervention on trade union affairs, anti-union discrimination and prohibition of the right to strike.

Forty-two (42) other cases of violations of collective bargaining agreements (CBA) and other CBA issues affecting over 11,000 workers were documented within the last three years since Aquino took office.

“The government boasts of achieving industrial peace and almost zero-strike incidence but this is not at all indicative of better conditions for unions and workers. The numerous cases of union rights violations and CBA issues is clear proof that conditions for union organizing has not improved at all,” Arman Hernando, CTUHR coordinator for documentation said.

Aside from these, CTUHR also documented over 84 cases of civil and political rights violations against workers and unionists which include cases of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, harassment, physical assault and filing of false criminal charges.

Alarmingly low union rate

The group described the number of unionized workers as “alarmingly low” covering less than 10% of wage and salary workers. Recent data on CBAs from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) also revealed that in 2011, only 326 CBAs are registered nationwide covering only 66,485 workers.

“This miniscule percentage of unionized and CBA-covered workers in addition to the persistence of union rights violations shows how terrible labor rights situation in the country is today. While the Aquino government is hell-bent in selling out the country to investors on one hand, it miserably fails to protect the rights of the majority who create the nation’s wealth on the other hand.”

“The right to form unions and collectively bargain is the very important to workers for it is the only means by which workers can empower themselves and claim their rights even at the factory level,” Hernando averred.

The group added that continued attacks by capitalists and state agents on workers who struggle to form organizations and unions contribute to this ever decreasing rate of unionized workers. Government policies that allow contractual labor also undermine workers right to organize.

“The Aquino government must be reminded that a truly developed society can only be achieved if its people are enjoying their rights. Economic growth or so-called ‘inclusive growth’ is meaningless and hollow if majority of the people are not empowered to claim their rights and do not feel the fruits of development,” Hernando added.

For Reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Coordinator for Documentation. 4110256; 0916.2484876

RELEASE
30 July 2013

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[Statement] On the killing of Davao City transport leader -CTUHR

On the killing of Davao City transport leader

CTUHR logo

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights strongly condemns the killing of Davao City transport leader Antonio Petalcorin, President of Network of Transport Organization-Davao (NETO-NCTU-APL). This is another blow to the working sector and a clear indication that human rights situation in the country has not improved.

According to reports, Antonio Petalcorin, was shot in the morning of July 2 by an unidentified man. Petalcorin was dead on the spot sustaining four gunshot wounds from a .45 caliber pistol. The killing happened amidst a strong campaign of Petalcorin’s group to oust the leadership of LTFRB (Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board) in Davao City because of alleged corruption.

As we mourn with Petalcorin’s family, friends and colleagues, we are also one with them on the calls for justice. We demand an immediate and thorough investigation of the case so that perpetrators may be held accountable to the law.

Moreover, we denounce Petalcorin’s killing for it is an outright attack on our collective rights and freedoms. Needless to say, extrajudicial killings hamper the workers’ and the people’s right and freedom to organize. Brazen violence has a chilling effect among the people and the community which has been used time and again by state agents to quell dissent and suppress legitimate and just demands of the people.

Petalcorin’s death highlights the persisting impunity which the Aquino administration failed to correct. In fact, human rights and labor rights situation has not changed, rather aggravated, within the first half of Aquino’s presidency. Petalcorin is the 5th transport leader killed in the first three years of the current administration. And to this day, Ernest Gulfo, Felix Cultura, Feliciano Infante and Emilio Rivera, just like hundreds of other victims of human rights killings, are still seeking justice.

As Pres. Aquino is about to deliver his State of the Nation Address in a few weeks, news on the widening gap between the poor and the rich underlines how his administration has abandoned the welfare and interests of the working class and marginalized groups. Amid this worsening economic condition for the majority, human rights killings and violations committed against workers and the toiling classes only paints a more grotesque picture of our current society.

We thus reiterate our challenge to Pres. Aquino to fulfill his promise that he shall put an end to all human rights killings. Until and unless these killings and other human rights violations are stopped and perpetrators are brought to justice can the Aquino administration actually brag of leading a straight path.

STATEMENT
11 July 2013
for Reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, 411.0256.

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[Press Release] Labor group condemns police-company collusion to stop picketing workers -CTUHR

Labor group condemns police-company collusion to stop picketing workers

CTUHR logo

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights condemns the collusion of the Quezon City police and the Pentagon Steel Corporation management to put down the picket of over a hundred workers in Brgy. Apolonio Samson, Kaingin Road, Quezon City.

“The extent of support given by the local police to the company is alarming especially because fundamental human rights of the workers have been gravely violated,” Arman Hernando, CTUHR coordinator for Documentation said.

Last May 18, CTUHR dispatched a quick response team (QRT) to the site of the picketing workers where Hernando reportedly witnessed how the policemen from Police Community Precinct 1 of the Quezon City Police District (PCP1-QCPD) willingly provided security services to the steel company. “The company just sent a request letter to the police asking them to implement an injunction order. It is amazing how fast the police responded to their request,” Hernando added.

Around 40 policemen from PCP1-QCPD headed by Major de Vera were deployed 8 AM of May 18 to sever the workers protest of following a preliminary injunction order issued by the National Labor Relations Commission.

“It’s not difficult to conclude that the police was siding with the company. The police officers stood in front of the factory as though they were the company’s private security, and their vehicles were parked inside the compound,” Hernando narrated.

CTUHR also reported 17 men in civilian clothes spread around the workers’ picket line. Later it was discovered that these men were police intelligence officers.

Three workers suffered minor head injuries after being hit by truncheons. After the dispersal, at around 10 AM, the police also reportedly escorted some 50 individuals including 20 scabs to get inside the factory.
Sec. 10 Rule XIII Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code clearly provides that “no public official, employee, including officers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Integrated National Police, or any armed person shall bring in, introduce or escort, in any manner, any individuals who seeks to replace strikers in entering or leaving the premises of strike area.xxx”

“There is a clear collusion of the two entities to further violate the rights of the workers here. Pentagon management after its illegal lockout seeks to continue its operation by replacing the 130 dismissed workers. The police, instead of staying neutral at best, unquestioningly provided the necessary act to fulfill the company’s intention. Worse than being illegal, their acts are inhumane. These acts strip-off the only thing left of the workers—dignity,” Hernando pointed out.

Meanwhile, on May 14 at 8 AM, Bimbo Laurenciano fell off a 40-feet asbestos roof inside the Pentagon plant after attempting to sneak inside Pentagon’s premises to work. Laurenciano was immediately brought to Quezon City General Hospital but died in the afternoon of the same date due to severe head injury.

“We feel sorry for the death of Laurenciano. In Pentagon’s attempt to continue earning profit amid the labor dispute cost another worker’s life,” Hernando added.

Hernando said that the accident could have been avoided if Pentagon has stopped its illegal lock-out of workers. “The workers are in fact asking much, they just want the management to respect their union, and implement the collective bargaining agreement by providing workers with safety gadgets. They are not even asking for a hike. But instead of heeding their just and modest demands, union leaders were suspended and later, all of the union members were also illegally dismissed,” Hernando said.

“We call on the NLRC and the Pentagon management to resolve dispute immediately and bring the workers back to work,” Hernando said.

RELEASE
23 May 2013

for reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Coordinator for Documentation, 02.4110456

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wk of disappeared copysign petiton2 small

[Press Release] CTUHR urges government to resolve joblessness, low wage to alleviate poverty

CTUHR urges government to resolve joblessness, low wage to alleviate poverty

CTUHR logoIn reaction to the latest poverty statistics reported by the NSCB which showed that poverty in the country has not changed from 2009 to 2012, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights urged the Aquino administration to resolve joblessness and low wages in order to alleviate poverty.

Daisy Arago, CTUHR executive director said, “We are not surprised at all that the poverty statistics did not improve—and this is despite the government already lowering the poverty threshold—precisely because joblessness is still prevalent even if there is economic growth.”

On Wednesday, the NSCB released the result of the 2012 poverty survey that showed poverty incidence at 27.9 percent, hardly an improvement from the 28.6 percent poverty incidence in 2009.

“Addressing unemployment and precarious jobs is a necessary step in order to lessen poverty. Giving the people significant wage hike could definitely increase family income and provide relief to many ailing Filipinos,” Arago said.

“And in order to create decent jobs, the government cannot rely on its labor export policy and volatile industries such like construction and BPOs. Even institutions that promote neoliberal policies like the ADB agree to this,” Arago added.

The group also urged the government to adopt a policy that aims to develop agriculture by implementing genuine agrarian reform and to build strong national industries “so that growth will not only trickle down to Filipinos in the lower strata of society but will directly benefit the poor.“

In addition, Arago also pointed out that the government should scrap its labor and economic policies that favor investors over the common good of most Filipinos. “The poor are ones hit the hardest by policies that allow labor contractualization and privatization of social services. These policies should be ended if the government seriously intends to cut down poverty,“ Arago averred.

RELEASE
26 April 2013

Reference: Daisy Arago, Executive Director, CTUHR. +632.411.0256

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[Press Release] Labor group condemns violence in dispersal of workers protest -CTUHR

Labor group condemns violence in dispersal of workers protest

CTUHR logoThe Center for Trade Union and Human Rights condemned the violence employed by members of the Quezon City Police District to stop the protest of some 129 workers of Pentagon Steel Corporation on April 15 in Bgy. Apolonio Samson, Quezon City.

“We condemn the violent dispersal of the [workers’] protest done by members of Quezon City police, eight of whom were even wearing civilian clothes, which led to injuries and arrest of several Pentagon workers,” said Arman Hernando, CTUHR coordinator for documentation.

Six workers of Pentagon Steel Corporation were arrested and detained while seven others were injured in a violent dispersal of workers protest on March 15 in front of the company gate in Bgy. Apolonio Samson, Quezon City. The dispersal was initially carried out by armed men in civilian clothes until members of the Quezon City police intervened to stop the protest.

Arrested and detained were Gilbert Garcia, 35, Jerry Mira, 47, Bautista Unggaya, 35, Arnel Pandungan, 38, Angelo Pandungan, 41, and Nestle Gabriel, 36. The six workers were charged with grave coercion and resistance and disobedience. The following day, 6 PM of April 16, they were released and charges against them were referred for further investigation as the policemen who arrested them violated the guidelines in conducting a warrantless arrest and because their cause for arrest rooted from a labor dispute.

“The police officers’ action in this case clearly violated the workers right to free assembly. It is only just that the arrested workers have been freed. But the policemen who harassed them should be held liable for their misdeeds,” Hernando averred.

According to Center for Trade Union and Human Rights report, 129 workers of Pentagon were peacefully having a protest action on April 15 when eight men in civilian clothes started pushing them away from the company gate. These men reportedly showed their pistols to the protesting workers and threatened to use their firearms if the workers push closer to the company gate. Workers were reportedly hit with metal handcuffs while others were electrocuted using a handheld electrocuting device. Moments later, policemen from three police vehicles intervened in the scuffle. But instead of preventing the armed men from harassing the workers, the policemen helped in breaking up the workers’ protest. In the inquest proceeding, the eight armed men who initially harassed the protesting workers turned out to be police officers from La Loma PNP.

Dispute with the management

The protest of the Pentagon workers started after 129 workers were unjustly dismissed following their protest action inside the factory on April 12. The following day, the workers who participated in the protest were not allowed to enter the company premises. This prompted the workers to hold a series of protest actions outside the factory calling for their reinstatement.

Earlier, six union members were suspended by the management on unclear grounds. The workers deem this act as “excessive” meant primarily to harass the union members who are not pro-management.

The workers of Pentagon are unionized under PTGWO-TUCP whose leadership has been exposed as pro-management in their local union election in 2010. A new set of union officers were elected which the management in connivance with the old union leadership prevented from taking power. From then on, the workers of Pentagon have consistently struggled for a more transparent collective bargaining agreement and better working conditions. Workers of Pentagon have long reported many cases of accidents in the workplace and absence of ventilation in the production site.

Stop undue dismissal

Hernando also conveyed unity with the workers demand to be brought back to work, “The management should settle the just demands of workers for a safer working environment, and a transparent CBA. It should also stop harassing union members who are fighting for the workers welfare.”

Hernando also expressed alarm over the growing number of unjust dismissal due to labor disputes. “This is not the first time that a case like this happened. Last year, another group of workers in PhilSteel in Laguna, were also dismissed after they protested their management’s violation of CBA.”

“The latest incident in Pentagon Steel Corp. shows how the government blatantly collaborates with the capitalists to ensure a ‘peaceful’ industrial climate at the detriment of workers’ rights. The environment for workers’ freedom is becoming worse despite the government’s claim that there is industrial peace. It appears that the kind of ‘peace’ being promoted by the government is unjust, and is actually opposed to workers rights and freedoms,” Hernando added. ###

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights condemned the violence employed by members of the Quezon City Police District to stop the protest of some 129 workers of Pentagon Steel Corporation on April 15 in Bgy. Apolonio Samson, Quezon City.

“We condemn the violent dispersal of the [workers’] protest done by members of Quezon City police, eight of whom were even wearing civilian clothes, which led to injuries and arrest of several Pentagon workers,” said Arman Hernando, CTUHR coordinator for documentation.

Six workers of Pentagon Steel Corporation were arrested and detained while seven others were injured in a violent dispersal of workers protest on March 15 in front of the company gate in Bgy. Apolonio Samson, Quezon City. The dispersal was initially carried out by armed men in civilian clothes until members of the Quezon City police intervened to stop the protest.

Arrested and detained were Gilbert Garcia, 35, Jerry Mira, 47, Bautista Unggaya, 35, Arnel Pandungan, 38, Angelo Pandungan, 41, and Nestle Gabriel, 36. The six workers were charged with grave coercion and resistance and disobedience. The following day, 6 PM of April 16, they were released and charges against them were referred for further investigation as the policemen who arrested them violated the guidelines in conducting a warrantless arrest and because their cause for arrest rooted from a labor dispute.

“The police officers’ action in this case clearly violated the workers right to free assembly. It is only just that the arrested workers have been freed. But the policemen who harassed them should be held liable for their misdeeds,” Hernando averred.

According to Center for Trade Union and Human Rights report, 129 workers of Pentagon were peacefully having a protest action on April 15 when eight men in civilian clothes started pushing them away from the company gate. These men reportedly showed their pistols to the protesting workers and threatened to use their firearms if the workers push closer to the company gate. Workers were reportedly hit with metal handcuffs while others were electrocuted using a handheld electrocuting device. Moments later, policemen from three police vehicles intervened in the scuffle. But instead of preventing the armed men from harassing the workers, the policemen helped in breaking up the workers’ protest. In the inquest proceeding, the eight armed men who initially harassed the protesting workers turned out to be police officers from La Loma PNP.

Dispute with the management

The protest of the Pentagon workers started after 129 workers were unjustly dismissed following their protest action inside the factory on April 12. The following day, the workers who participated in the protest were not allowed to enter the company premises. This prompted the workers to hold a series of protest actions outside the factory calling for their reinstatement.

Earlier, six union members were suspended by the management on unclear grounds. The workers deem this act as “excessive” meant primarily to harass the union members who are not pro-management.

The workers of Pentagon are unionized under PTGWO-TUCP whose leadership has been exposed as pro-management in their local union election in 2010. A new set of union officers were elected which the management in connivance with the old union leadership prevented from taking power. From then on, the workers of Pentagon have consistently struggled for a more transparent collective bargaining agreement and better working conditions. Workers of Pentagon have long reported many cases of accidents in the workplace and absence of ventilation in the production site.

Stop undue dismissal

Hernando also conveyed unity with the workers demand to be brought back to work, “The management should settle the just demands of workers for a safer working environment, and a transparent CBA. It should also stop harassing union members who are fighting for the workers welfare.”

Hernando also expressed alarm over the growing number of unjust dismissal due to labor disputes. “This is not the first time that a case like this happened. Last year, another group of workers in PhilSteel in Laguna, were also dismissed after they protested their management’s violation of CBA.”

“The latest incident in Pentagon Steel Corp. shows how the government blatantly collaborates with the capitalists to ensure a ‘peaceful’ industrial climate at the detriment of workers’ rights. The environment for workers’ freedom is becoming worse despite the government’s claim that there is industrial peace. It appears that the kind of ‘peace’ being promoted by the government is unjust, and is actually opposed to workers rights and freedoms,” Hernando added.

RELEASE

17 April 2013

For reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Coordinator for Documentation, +632.411.0256

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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.

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

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[Press Release] Workers face more malicious charges under Aquino-CTUHR

Workers face more malicious charges under Aquino-CTUHR

CTUHR logoMalicious filing of criminal cases (criminalization) against workers and unionists intensified under Aquino according to labor NGO, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights from an average of 7 cases per year between 2004-2009 to an average of 12 cases per year between 2010 to 2011.

CTUHR documentation also showed that the number of individuals victimized by these malicious or trumped up criminal charges more than doubled in the same period—from an average of 42 individuals charged per year between 2004-2009 to an average of 90 individuals every year between 2010-2012.

The group noted two forms of criminalization against workers and unionists: one is when workers are charged by capitalists with criminal offenses whenever the worker/s filed complaints against the former’s non-compliance with legal standards or when the union is in conflict with the management; the other type of criminalization is perpetrated by state agents reportedly by the military wherein union leaders of militant labor centers are maliciously linked to operations of armed groups particularly the New People’s Army.

Arman Hernando, CTUHR coordinator for documentation expressed alarm over this heightening spate of criminalization and said that it undermines workers right to unionize and jeopardizes the very few mechanisms where workers can seek redress when in conflict with their employers.

The group also pointed to the state’s counter insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan, as culprit to most of these “legal offensives” and violations of workers’ freedom to unionize. “Like the previous administration, the Aquino administration and the military continue to malign legitimate people’s organizations and unions by linking them with the NPAs. And same with, if not worse than, past counterinsurgency programs, Oplan Bayanihan has resulted to volumes of human rights violations including these harassments through filing of trumped up cases, extrajudicial killings and others,” Hernando added.

Late last year, leaders of militant unions, Roy Velez and Amelita Gamara of Kilusang Mayo Uno and Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano of Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) were charged with murder linked to two separate NPA operations in Ifugao and Daet, Camarines Norte. Vegas and Camposano were first abducted reportedly by military agents on December 3, 2012 and this was followed by malicious filing of criminal charges.

The group challenged the Aquino government to comply with the ILO recommendations to uphold workers’ freedom of association and drop criminal charges against workers exercising their right to unionize and strike. In 2010, the International Labor Organization (ILO) released its recommendations to the Philippine Government following the ILO High Level Mission that investigated the spate of human rights violations against unions and workers.

For reference: Arman Hernando, CTUHR Coordinator for Documentation. +632.411.0256, +63923.819.3737

ctuhr.org

RELEASE
27 February 2012

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[Press Release] NGO calls for justice for power plant accident victims -CTUHR

NGO calls for justice for power plant accident victims

CTUHR logoThe Center for Trade Union and Human Rights is calling for justice for five workers who died in an accident at the power plant of SPC Malaya Power Corporation (SPC Malaya) in Pililia, Rizal on February 3.

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights executive director Daisy Arago said, “There should be justice for the victims of this accident as well as other similar fatal accidents that happened in the workplace.” She added that what happened in Pililia is another case of “utter disregard by companies for occupational health and safety which resulted to workers’ deaths and injuries as in the case of Eton, Keppel, and septic tank workers in Cubao in previous times.”

On February 3, Sunday, five workers identified as Eduardo Fidel, Gregorio Ricalde, Roberto Mesias, Jeffrey Sinag, and Antonio Manguerra died while 12 others were injured after a 70-foot scaffolding collapsed. The workers were reportedly fixing the smokestack of SPC Malaya when suddenly the scaffolding they were using fell down.

Arago also pointed out, “the government hails the boom in construction and its contribution to the economy. On the other side however we witness these fatal accidents where workers die and their families are left with no breadwinner and are thus more impoverished. Surely, that is something the Aquino government cannot be proud of.”

“Worse, justice is ever elusive to the victims and their families. At best, the company would only give the families a few thousands of pesos and that’s it.”

Arago also noted that while it seems positive that the Department of Labor and Employment has suspended the operations of the SPC Malaya to give way to investigations, there is no guarantee that justice will be rendered. “They also did that to Eton and Keppel but what happened? Were these companies held criminally liable?” Arago added.

CTUHR’s documentation reveals that at least 4 workers die every month due to unsafe working conditions since 2011. In 2010, 35 percent of victims of work-related accidents (both fatal and non-fatal) come from the construction industry.

For reference: Jane Siwa, Public Information and Education, +632.411.0256

FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE
08 February 2012

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[Statement] The Maverick of the proletarians by Erwin R. Puhawan

“The Maverick of the proletarians
by Erwin Puhawan

lagman-popoyFebruary 6 marks the 12th year death anniversary of Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman. Feared by the abusive capitalist class but admired by the working class. As  a former  student  leader turned revolutionary , the  works  of  Ka Popoy  inspired  many  revolutionaries  to take the  challenge and  take  the path  of  the revolution unconditionally .

His idea of a strong and independent  workers  movement  gave  the  workers  an opportunity  to lead and  be the  vanguard  class. Under  his  guidance, the  establishment  of  the  Kapatiran ng Mga Pangulo  ng Unyon sa Pilipinas ( KPUP) Brotherhood  of  Union Presidents  in the Philippines  broke the  barriers between  rival  unions. His effort  to organize the  first  Labor  Party in the Philippines Partido ng Manggawa ( PM)  is   an attempt  to  put  the working  class as a strong  political  force.

The killing of Ka Popoy shall not stop the working class from continuing   the struggle. With the onslaught of Globalization and the continued political circus in the government of “hacienderos”   the need for a strong independent working class movement should be the primary trust.

The issue of  poverty, the  disintegration  of  trade unions, and  continued  political harassment  and killings of  activist , the  demolitions will only  prove that  the  present  administration  is  not  for the  working  class. The issue  of PALEA  is  one  indicia  that the present  Administration  cannot  and will not defend  the interest  of the masses.

This  is a clear  indicia  that social  injustice exist and  continued to exist  unless the  entire working class will be  emancipated  and  from their  chains of  slavery  and oppression. His killing will clearly show that the perpetrators are nothing but cowards and mindless barbarians. His death should not be the end of  a legacy but  a start  of  a strong proletarian movement .

JUSTICE FOR KA POPOY ! JUSTICE  FOR  THE  WORKING CLASS!

Erwin  R. Puhawan
Former National  Chairperson
KAMPIKatipunan ng mga  Anak ng Manggagawang Pilipino)
( Solidarity of  Sons and Daughters of the Working  Class)

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[Urgent Appeal] Hundreds of oil palm workers decry unjust dismissal -CTUHR

URGENT APPEAL
January 06, 2013

Hundreds of oil palm workers decry unjust dismissal; call for reinstatement, regularization, and implementation of labor standards

CTUHR logoThe Center for Trade Union and Human Rights is writing to you to seek your support for 293 of oil palm workers who were unjustly dismissed and were refused to go back to work following the lifting of strike last February 1 of nearly 1,000 workers of Filipinas Palmoil Plantations Inc. (FPPI).

These 293 workers were previously employed as casual employees in FPPI for as much as 30 years until an ocular inspection was conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on October 23 as a result of the union’s long campaign against unjust working conditions in the plantation. The inspection’s initial findings released on October 25  confirmed the company’s massive violations of labor standards. In an apparent retaliatory move, the management dismissed one by one all workers interviewed by DOLE in their inspection except a few (11) who agreed to sign a waiver. This action of the management prompted the workers’ union to launch a strike on November 27, which lasted until January 31 nearly two weeks after the Secretary of Labor assumed jurisdiction over the strike.

Issues of long term contractualization, CBA violations and child labor also hound the oil palm company. Two months hence, the DOLE is still reluctant to hold the company liable for its clear violations of the law.

Case Summary Nearly 300 casual workers of FPPI are still jobless even after the return to work order of the DOLE following the Labor Secretary’s assumption of jurisdiction (AJ) of FPPI workers’ strike on January 18, 2013.

Workers of FPPI lifted their two-month battle on January 31, 2013 several days after DOLE Secretary assumed jurisdiction over the strike. However, FPPI management denied 293 workers of their work insisting that they do not know and have never hired these workers.

On November 27, 2012, nearly 1000 workers together with their families launched a strike on grounds of unfair labor practices of the FPPI management and unjust dismissal of 293 casual workers. These 293 workers were previously interviewed by representatives of the DOLE-Caraga during the October 23 ocular inspection. The findings released on October 25 confirmed the company’s massive violation of labor standards such as underpayment of wages and absence of social security insurance for workers.

Massive violation of labor standards and long term-contractualization

As early as April 2008, workers of FPPI led by FPP Workers’ Union, has urged the management to implement labor standards as most workers, especially those who have long been in casual status, receive wages below minimum rate (only PHP150.00 a day versus the legally mandated PHP248.00) and do not receive social security benefits such as SSS,  PhilHealth and PAG-IBIG. The union, since 2008, have been also calling for the regularization of at least 198 workers who remained casual employees despite having worked in the company for at least five years to as much as 30 years.

Their long fight finally resulted to an ocular inspection on October 23, 2012 conducted by the representatives from DOLE-Caraga. More than 200 workers were interviewed in the one-day inspection. And on October 25, DOLE-Caraga released its initial findings confirming the massive violations of labor standards by the FPPI. The findings also noted at least PHP 9,000,000.00 worth of money claims for the workers.

Unfair dismissal

However, instead of correcting their violations of the law, the FPPI management, questioned the findings, saying the inspection findings is flawed and that the workers interviewed were not workers of FPPI. Worse, the workers who were interviewed by DOLE-Caraga representatives were persuaded by the management to sign a waiver retracting their statements or they will be relieved from work. Those who will sign a waiver however can keep their jobs as casual employees and receive PHP 3,000.00. Only 11 workers signed the waiver, the rest who refused to sign were dismissed one by one by the management until on November 16, all workers interviewed were already dropped from the ranks of FPPI workforce. This issue, aside from other unfair labor practices of the company, prompted the union to hold a strike.

Moreover, dismissed workers are mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries (landowners) and are members of the cooperatives that lease land to FPPI. Part of the agreement between them and the management is to hire them as workers in the plantation.

Collective bargaining deadlock

Since 2008, FPPI management has also refused to give the workers the amount of wage hike they were asking during their collective negotiations. This issue plus the company’s refusal to implement the CBA benefits to 198 casual employees, in fact led to a previous strike of workers in 2010.

Late in 2011, FPPI Workers’ Union (FPPIWU) filed a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which the management refused to acknowledge saying that their CBA has expired since five years have lapsed. Consequently, a certification election was held on March 17, 2012; FPPIWU won the union election and the union followed up their previous CBA. On May 8, 2012 sitting, the company did not provide a written counterproposal. Between June to August, a series of negotiations ensued between FPPIWU and the management. The management offered a meager 2-2-3 (in pesos or US$0.05, 0.05, 0.07)) staggered daily wage hike for the next three years which is way below the union’s 100-125-150 (in pesos) proposal. In August, the company, slightly raised its offer to PHP 3-3-4 but the union finds this unacceptable given the high profits of company. On September 17, a CBA deadlock was officially declared.

Harassment of union members

On Oct. 4, 2012, Rexon Generol, a member of FPPIWU spoke  in the Manila launch of CTUHR’s research on child labor and workers’ situation in oil palm plantation in Caraga (The book is entitled Children of Sunshine Industry). Generol gave a testimony about their dire working conditions as a result of long term contractualization which he experienced personally. Generol started working for FFPI  when he was 14 years old and have been working there  for 27 years, yet he remains in casual status receiving wages below the minimum rate, no social security and no benefits given to regular employees (such as rice allowance plus other bonuses).

Generol was wary that when he comes back to Agusan del Sur, he might lose his job after exposing to the public their conditions in FPPI. And true enough, when he was about to work on October 8, he found out that he was already dismissed.

Intimidation while on strike

While on strike, workers continue to experience intimidation and heated confrontations from members of Special Citizen Active Auxiliary (SCAA) and the company’s security personnel.

On December 13, around 10 PM, workers were alarmed when they heard from behind their post, six shots (two shots from a triangle, one from a pistol and three shots from an M-14). They learned that the shots were fired by members of the SCAA whose post is just a few meters away from the picket line. Workers suspect that the shots were aimed at creating fear among strikers as SCAA members laughed and made fun of the incident afterwards.

On January 12, 2013, the strikers were threatened (by the management) that they will be charged with company bankruptcy because of the strike. Through the SCAA and Agency Security Group (FPPI’s security guard), workers were persuaded to sign a waiver that they will no longer join the strike and will go back to work. Only siix workers signed the waiver.

Two days after, on Jan. 14, an argument between the strikers and the guards ensued when the workers blocked the supervisors and managers from entering the plantation premises. To avoid future conflict, the strikers have previously drafted an agreement with the SCAA and the ASG that no personnel of the company will be allowed to enter the premises while the strike is still on. SCAA and ASG however declined to sign the agreement.

During the heated exchange, security forces of the company (identified as Limyado, Awitan, Sakal and Dondi Carbin) cocked their guns at Mr. Jowarh Quita, a staff of the union, while the latter was taking a video footage of the said confrontation. The guards were insisting that a newly-built “boom” by the workers be removed. The “boom” was installed by the workers to block the passages of those who would be working while there is still a strike.

Misleading dialogues and unfruitful negotiations
Since the strike started on November 27, the union has been always open to negotiations with the company and the government. In several occasions, the FPPI management has postponed their scheduled negotiations, while the government remains lukewarm in holding the company liable for its violations of labor standards.

Union officials lament that instead of settling the issue, the government is setting up meetings that divert the issue and threaten the striking workers. On December 7 for instance, the government called for an inter-agency dialogue with the strikers. Representatives from the DOLE, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the local government unit (LGU) were present in the dialogue. The union representative noted that the DOLE representative asked the workers if they can “lift ” the strike for the spirit of Christmas, but said nothing about the workers demands.. DSWD as well as the LGU expressed concern over the children of workers who are staying in the picket line.

Several talks between company officials, the union, and the DOLE happened but were not fruitful. The first was on Dec. 21, nearly a month after the strike started followed by another on Dec 30, Jan 7, and 9. While the union went as far as lowering their demands from implementing the labor standards to reinstating casual employees unnjustly dismissed, the company however denied having hired, or had known the 293 workers it terminated following DOLE’s ocular inspection on October 23. As for the negotiated wage hike, the company, stood firm in its offer of Php 3-Php3-Php 4 daily wage hike for the next three years.

On January 18, the Department of Labor and Employment assumed jurisdiction (AJ) over  the strike and ordered all workers to go back to their work. The workers were wary  that the AJ order may later cause violence as in other cases of violent dispersal of strikes.

On two negotiations in Manila on January 24 and 28 this year, workers’ demands were hardly settled. Even if the strike has been lifted, they are still struggling for the reinstatement of the 293 casual workers, their eventual regularization.

The labor law (Article 280 of the Labor Code) is clear that contract or even seasonal workers will be considered regular or permanent if they work for a company for a one year, even if the employment is intermittent. Repeated renewal of contract, much more years of employment proves that the work being done by those  considered ‘casual’ by the company is necessary and desirable i.e production will be severely affected if they those workers are removed from work  The 293 casual workerss at FPPI are mostly harvesters, without them, there will be no fruits to grind and no oil to sell.

The discrimination and rights violations of 293 workers are clear, they were not only deprived of monetary and welfare benefits due to regular workers and union members, they were deprived of their right to security of tenure and their basic right to life as they were thrown to living in dire situation. Their children are forced to work in the field for family survival. More importantly, their dismissals after testimony to a government inspection must be accorded with protection against retaliatory acts by employer; lest injustice will continue to be committed against these workers, and trust on the administration of justice weill continue to be questioned.

Background of the company

Filipinas Palm Oil Plantations Inc. was established in 1980 in the municipality of Rosario in Agusan del Sur. It is 60 percent-owned by a Filipino and 40 percent Indonesian. It covers 8,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in San Francisco and Rosario Agusan del Sur. Government estimates its average production to as much as 40 metric tons of fresh fruit bunch of oil palm per hour and used to export its products to the US, Japan, Malaysia and Europe in the 1990s. To date, local consumption for palm oil has increased and FPPI is a supplier for known food companies namely Monde Nissin Corporation, Nissin Corporation, Wyeth Philippines, Universal Robina Corporation, Ecco Food Corporation, and Magnolia Corporation.

Workers computation of companies minimum gross earnings per hectare of land per month is equivalent to PHP 22,080.00. Ratio of worker to hectare is 1:4; land rent per hectare per month  a measly PHP 166.00 under the existing lease agreement between the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) who lease out the land to FPPI through cooperatives.

Action Needed:

In support of the dismissed workers in FPPI, please write to the authorities imploring them to:

1) Immediately bring back to work the 293 unjustly dismissed workers of FPPI, promote them into regular status as provided by law, and accord them with rights and benefits due them;

2) Hold FPPI liable for its massive violation of labor standards and regularize all workers who have been working in the company for at least one year, and implement all provisions of the collective bargaining agreement to  all workers, without discrimination, thus, reducing incidence of child labor in the plantation;

3) Stop all forms of harassments, threats and intimidation  against all workers and their family members who joined the strike;

3) For the Department of Labor and Employment to uphold its Department’s findings on the October 23 ocular inspection that verified massive labor standards violations of FPPI;  hold the FPPI management liable to the all workers especially those who have been unjustly dismissed.

4) For DOLE and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to institute mechanisms and provide protection against any retaliatory actions, and provide assistance to all workers and/or trade unionists who come out to testify and speak about their situation.

5) For President Benigno Aquino III and its economic managers to investigate the condition of palm oil workers and communities, effectively address the problem of child labor and poverty of affected communities’  before any expansion of oil palm plantation is pursued.

Please send your letters to the following:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

Hon. Rosalinda Dimapilid Baldoz
Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment
7th Floor DOLE Bldg., Intramuros,
Fax no.: (632) 336-8182
Email: secrdb@dole.gov.ph

S.K. Tan
General Manager
Filipinas Palm Plantations Inc
7/F Citibank Center
8741 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Tel: +6328127541
Fax: +632.817.5753

Dennis Villareal
President
Filipinas Palm Plantations Inc
7/F Citibank Center
8741 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Telephone: +632 8127541-46
Email:  denn.villa@gmail.com

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to us:  email pie.ctuhr@gmail.com; telefax (02) 411-0256.

Thank you very much for your support.

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights
ctuhr.org

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] P-Noy defends human rights record -PhilStar.com

P-Noy defends human rights record
By Ana Marie Pamintuan, The Philippine Star
October 24, 2012

AUCKLAND – President Aquino yesterday defended the human rights record of his administration, saying state forces also have rights that must be respected and upheld.

“I keep saying that human rights is for everybody,” Aquino told Radio New Zealand in an interview here.

The interviewer noted that trade unions and church groups in New Zealand have said there are still “too many human rights abuses” in the Philippines.

“Well, we can’t claim that there are no human rights issues within our country,” Aquino replied.

“But in the past two weeks, for instance, we’ve had a lot of abuses done on state agents. When they were enforcing, for instance, eviction notices… they were pelted with human waste. And a lot of danger has happened to our people.”

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Urgent Appeal] 26 workers dismissed, harassed after nixing management union -CTUHR

URGENT APPEAL
15 October 2012

26 workers dismissed, harassed after nixing management union

Dear friends and partners,

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights together with the workers of Bacolod Columbia Markerting Inc.(BCMI), is appealing to you to support the fight of the workers of BCMI against unjust dismissal, unfair labor practice and non-recognition of their union.

On two separate instances last September, at least 26 workers of the BCMI. have been unjustly removed from work after they successfully replaced the management-appointed union leaders through a local election. On October 4, the workers under the new leadership of BCMI Workers Association filed a notice of strike against BCMI management on grounds of unfair labor practice and union busting.

Case Summary:

Twenty-six workers of the Bacolod Columbia Marketing Inc. Workers Association (BCMWA), were unjustly dismissed in two separate instances in September 2012. Dismissed workers include the newly-elected officers of the BCMWA following a local election that deposed management-installed union leaders. The workers were:

1.Crusos Tanaman
2.Janeth Lim
3.Eduardo Descutido
4.Roberto Amante
5.Danilo Gacutan
6.Joemar Reusroa
7.Remos Torrecarion
8.Jose Roland Cansenaje
9.Fernando Padilla, Jr.
10.Jenny Benedicto
11.Joamarie Gan
12.Rene Estilo
13.Jose Rexis Adelantar
14.Enrico Rivera
15.Rodolfo Cabayao
16.Arnold Pelaez
17.Walter Belo
18.Reynaldo Miranda
19.Melvin Caminse
20.Charlito Tolentino
21.Evangeline Guttierez
22.Dennis Gepaya
23.Marlon Camagos
24.Edwin Claur
25.Jocel Lapa
26.Reymund Yburan

BCMWA was first organized by Congress of Independent Organization-Associated Labor Union (CIO-ALU) in August 26, 1991 without the knowledge of rank and files employees. The union officers, coming largely from the supervisory ranks, were handpicked by the management who voluntarily recognized the union in 1996. Again in 2001, BCMI General Manager (GM) Alfonso Choa voluntarily recognized the union.

Starting 2001, the management through Mr. Choa and the CIO-ALU have secretly concluded 3 collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). But it was only in the first quarter of 2011 when the workers knew that there was a union. The workers also learned about the “substandard” CBA of 2011-2016 forged between the management of Mr. Choa and CIO-ALU.

In response to this management deceit and treacherous attack on workers’ rights, the workers of BCM organized themselves to establish a workers union that will truly uphold their interests. On September 10, rank and file workers conducted a local election which deposed the management-picked union leaders and installed a new set of officers: Crusos Tanaman as President; Jose Judy Buen as Vice President; Janeth Lim as Secretary, Eduardo Descutido as Treasurer; Roberto Amante as Auditor while Donah Singson; and Jose Ronald Canenaje, Jonie Dela Pena, Remos Torrecarion, Jomar Reusora and Danilo Gacutin as Board of Directors.

This move however earned the ire of the management. In several instances, leaders and members of the new union were harassed, intimidated and discriminated by the BCMI management and its security forces:

1) On August 13, 2012 at about 10:20 in the morning, BCMI workers Crusos Tanaman and Jomar Reusora were held at gunpoint (using an M-16 rifle and a .45 caliber pistol) in front of 14 other workers by BCMI security guards Fernando Alolor and Alexander Alison together with Choa’s personal bodyguard Gabriel Hinolan while the two workers were piling consumer products on their delivery truck.

Tanaman, Reusora and the 14 others immediately reported the incident to the nearby Police Station and filed a complaint at the village council in Bgy. Villamonte. Then they resumed working and extended their duty to complete their 8 hours of work on that day.

2) On August 20, Choa suspended Tanaman, Reusora and 15 others for allegedly abandoning their work on August 13.

3) On Septmber 18, Choa and his lawyer sent a letter to CIO-ALU stating that the “persons who participated in the union election and who were voted into as officers were already-duly discharged from their duties.” Choa also notified CIO-ALU that the elected officers were already terminated amidst the pending suspension and in the absence of their termination notices. Choa in discriminating the new officers told CIO-ALU that the management “will be assisting CIO in determining the actual employees of the Company who were qualified to vote.”

4) On September 19, Tanaman and the 15 other workers reported to work after their 30-day suspension. Security guards however barred them from entering company premises.

5) On last September 24, Mr. Choa sent a letter to CIO-ALU dismissing Tanaman and the 15 others from their work. Another batch of suspensions and dismissal were imposed upon 10 more workers on various grounds and charges.

The workers tried to settle their complaint with the management through a grievance procedure. However, Choa continue to refuse to recognize Tanaman as the duly-elected union president mandated to represent the workers.

On October 4, 2012, BCMWA filed a Notice of Strike at National Conciliation and Mediation Board on grounds of unfair labor practice and union busting.

Additional Information:

Bacolod Columbia Marketing, Inc. or BCMI is primarily engaged in Marketing and Distribution of major fast moving consumer products around Negros Island especially in popular Department Stores and Malls.

Congress of Independent Organization-Associated Labor Union (CIO-ALU) is a confederation of labor union affiliated to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

Action Needed:

Please write to the authorities asking their intervention in order to prompt BCMI management to:

1) Immediately reinstate the 26 unjustly dismissed employees!

2) Stop unfair labor practice and union busting against the members of BCMWA!

3) Respect workers’ freedom of association!
Kindly send your letters to:

Alfonso Chan Choa
General Manager, Bacolod Columbia Marketing, Inc.
2525 Narra Extension, Hervias Subdivision
Bacolod City 6100, Philippines

Hon. Rosalinda Dimapilid Baldoz
Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment
7th Floor DOLE Bldg., Intramuros,
Fax no.: (632) 336-8182
Email: secrdb@dole.gov.ph

Hon. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President Republic of the Philippines
Manila JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005, Philippines
Fax: +63 2 73610101
Email: op@president@gov.ph

Thank you very much,

Sincerely yours,
Center for Trade Union and Human Rights
ctuhr.org

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

Finalists for 2nd HR Pinduteros Choice for HR Bloggers’ posts

Finalists for 2nd HR Pinduteros Choice for HR Bloggers’ posts 

Here are the most clicked HR Blog posts in HRonlinePH.com.

Please support your favorite blog post and help us decide who will be our 2nd HR Pinduteros choice for Human Rights Blog Post. Voting starts now and ends on 12 midnight of November 20, 2012.

To VOTE click the link of the article (to direct you to the article posted in HRonlinePH.com) and click the like button which can be found below each post.   

Thank you.

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[PALEA] HISTORY (Countdown to September 30 Blog. Day 1, Week 1)
by Koi Hernandez

On September 21, 1946 a group of about 50 ground technical/mechanics employees based in Nichols field, Pasay City, founded a Union popularly know as the PHILIPPINE AIRLINESEMPLOYEES’ ASSOCIATION (PALEA).

In 1952 the passage of R.A. 875 increased union membership to 1,500. By 1954, however, because of the suspension of the international flight operations, many union members were retrenched causing misery and economic hardship to their families.

The “CBA Golden” era started when the Company agreed to provide the so-called “PALEmployees’ retirement Plan of 1957” to its employees. Between 1956 and 1965 the Union was strong and stable and this was bolstered by demanding for a 40-hour work week and the filing of the rate of pay case.

Click to read more and LIKE [PALEA] HISTORY (Countdown to September 30 Blog. Day 1, Week 1)
by Koi Hernandez

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The Education Budget (2011 Philippine Education Situation: series)
By Renato G. Mabunga, Ph.D.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution speaks elaborately of the right to education.  It vows to “…protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and… take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all… (1987 Philippine Constitution, Article XIV).  In principle, the Philippines takes cognizance of the normative characteristics or elements by which the right to education is founded namely: quality education, accessibility of the right and non-discrimination.  By being so, bonded itself to the obligatory nature in realizing the right both legally and politically.

The Philippine, as a state signatory to various instruments providing normative contents to the right to education, is bound by all these treaties and declarations to provide legislative as well as administrative frameworks for the realization of this right.  It must concretize its commitment to promote, protect and fulfill human rights in its development plans.

Click to read more and LIKE The Education Budget (2011 Philippine Education Situation: series)
By Renato G. Mabunga, Ph.D.

2nd of 3 series

Last of 3 series

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[Photo blog] Images of protest action against Greed
Photos by Bro. Martin Francisco

Click to see more photos and LIKE Images of protest action against Greed Photos by Bro. Martin Francisco

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Karahasan sa kababaihan, tigilan na!
by Greg Bituin

Kamakailan ay nabalita sa telebisyon ang pagdukot, panggagahasa’t pagpatay sa isang babaeng estudyante ng University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) noong Setyembre 23. Ang biktima’y nakilalang si Given Grace Cebanico, 19 na taong gulang. Kasunod nito’y nabalita sa pahayagang Remate ang panggagahasa at pagpatay sa isang 9-anyos na babae na natagpuan ang bangkay sa loob ng isang simbahan sa Muntinlupa noong Oktubre 27.

Kahindik-hindik at nakagagalit ang mga balitang ito. Wala silang kalaban-laban at kinitlan pa ng buhay. Anong uri ng mga halimaw ang may kagagawan ng mga ito?

Click to read more and LIKE Karahasan sa kababaihan, tigilan na! by Greg Bituin

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Mga Mokong banat and pick-up lines 2011
by Mokong Perspective

Usong uso ang pamatay na pick-up lines nitong 2011.  Kaya naman sumubok ang ilang mga Mokong at Mokang to draft their own bilang pamaskong handog…eto ang Mokong banat and pick-up lines, one more time…

Mokang: (to Palparan) Lakwatsero ka ba?
Palparan: Bakit? Kasi hanggang sa panaginip mo nakakarating ako.
Mokang: Hindi. Hindi ka kasi mahuli-huli e.

Rights groups: (to Palparan) Sana ulan ka at lupa na lang ako.
Palparan: Bakit? Para kahit gaano kalakas ang patak ko, sa iyo pa rin ang bagsak ko? Hehehe.
Rights groups: Hindi. Para kahit makatakas ka at makalipad, sa kin pa rin ang bagsak mo at nang mapakulong kita. Hehehe!

Palparan: Hindi naman ako tubig. Pero bakit sila uhaw sa ‘kin?
Mokong: Hindi kami uhaw sa ‘yo. Uhaw kami sa hustisya!

Click to read more and LIKE Mga Mokong banat and pick-up lines 2011 by Mokong Perspective

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Akbayan joins PALEA: PAL must be made accountable for bad management
by Walden Bello

Akbayan is one with the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association in their protest against Lucio Tan and Philippine Airlines Management’s reckless outsourcing plan that threatens the welfare of almost 3,000 workers and their families. We decry PALmanagement’s removal of duly qualified workers way ahead of their scheduled termination, in the process replacing them with scabs or workers unfit for the job. We condemn Lucio Tan’s greed and PAL’s decision to prioritized profit margins over the welfare of workers.

Dear colleagues, I urge you to look closer into the events that led to PALEA’s September 27 protest action to determine if it is the management or the union that should be called into account.

Click to read more and LIKE Akbayan joins PALEA: PAL must be made accountable for bad management by Walden Bello

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Let’s define KANINA and UP-DOWN-UP-DOWN
by Mokong Perspective

Sa tagal na ako ay nakabalik heto ang naging salubong sa kin ng isang ka-mokang natin…

Mokong: Kamusta… kanina ka pa?

Mokang: Kanina… Let’s define kanina!

Mokong: Parang pamilyar…

Mokang: Kanina damo lang siya, ngayon puno na! Kanina naka-crew cut ako, ngayon pangshampoo commercial na. At higit sa lahat… BATA PA KO KANINA!!!

Ganito rin daw ang nangyari kay dating pangulong GMA. Nang matapos niyang maka-settle sa nilipatang silid sa Veterans Hospital, ito daw ang eksena…

Mike: Kamusta, kanina ka pa?

GMA: Kanina… lets define kanina! Kanina nasa St. Luke’s lang ako, ngayon wala na! kanina nakaalis na sana ako ng bansa, kung di dahil sa De Limang yan! At higit sa lahat DATING PRESIDENTE PA AKO KANINA, NGAYON DETAINEE NA!

Click to read more and LIKE Let’s define KANINA and UP-DOWN-UP-DOWN by Mokong Perspective

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Agaw Trip Komiks sa FB – Tuition Hike nakamamatay

Click to visit and LIKE Agaw Trip Komiks sa FB – Tuition Hike nakamamatay

[Press Release] Security of tenure bill to be pushed in “Day of Action vs. Outsourcing” -PALEA

Security of tenure bill to be pushed in “Day of Action vs. Outsourcing

Some 1,000 workers will be mobilized tomorrow by the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and the labor coalition Nagkaisa in a rally at Mendiola tomorrow. The rally marks the Filipino workers participation in the “Global Day of Action against Outsourcing” by labor unions in four continents. Aside from commemorating the anniversary of PALEA’s historic protest against outsourcing last year, the Mendiola rally will push for the passage of the security of tenure bill pending at Congress.

“It is not just the bills for reproductive health and freedom of information that are jammed at the legislative mill, but other vital social reform measures such as the security of tenure bill which seeks to restrict the epidemic of contractual work and the proliferation of 6 months endo jobs,” explained Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

The groups also announced that on October 8 workers will picket the House of Representatives to call for the plenary discussion of the security of tenure bill. The House Labor Committee has reported out a consolidated version of the bill but the Committee on Rules has not scheduled it for sponsorship and interpellation at the plenary level.

After the Mendiola mobilization, the rallyists will hold a motorcade to the PALEA protest camp for an afternoon mass meeting. Simultaneous mobilizations are also planned in Cebu at the PALEA picketline near the Mactan International Airport and in Davao at the downtown area.

Meanwhile rallies, leafleteering, mass meetings and other protest actions at airports are to be held in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, Istanbul in Turkey, Frankfurt in Germany, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Saint John in Canada, Mumbai in India and Honolulu in Hawaii. Solidarity messages have also been extended by labor centers and unions in Hong Kong, Seoul, Hanoi and San Francisco.

“If airline workers take industrial action, on the same day, in a coordinated way, all over the world, the struggle against job outsourcing will be stronger and more effective,” asserted the groups which are coordinating for the global day of action. Aside from PALEA, the Turkish civil aviation union Hava-Is, Qantas unions, the Lufthansa flight attendants union UFO, Canadian airline workers union CAW-TCA, Air India unions, UNITE-HERE in the USA and the Australia Asia Worker Links are participating.

Similar to PALEA, the groups participating in the day of action are embroiled in labor rows over job security and working conditions. Hava-Is is demanding the reinstatement of 305 members dismissed over protests against a controversial government ban on strikes in the aviation industry. Qantas management grounded its entire fleet last year in response to rolling strikes by its pilots and ground crew.

UFO recently won substantial concessions including limits to outsourcing after a strike that disrupted Lufthansa’s flights. CAW-TCA and other Air Canada unions were involved in disputes over pay and outsourcing, just like Air India workers. The UNITE-HERE union is campaigning for a boycott of the global hotel chain Hyatt over a host of issues including use of contract labor.

Press Release
September 26, 2012
PALEA
Contact Alnem Pretencio @ 09209543634

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

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