May 8, 2009
An overwhelming majority of workers at a lamp shade factory inside the Mactan Export Zone went on a work stoppage early this morning in protest at various grievances of regular and agency workers. Some 200 workers downed their tools and trooped to the office of the management of Paul Yu, a locator in MEPZ II producing lamp shades for the export and local market, to seek a dialogue for redress of their grievances.
At the moment, management has agreed to talk to the workers about their grievances and PEZA officials will oversee the dialogue. Willy Dondoyano, speaking on behalf of the protesting workers, said that “We will not return to work until management meets the demands of the workers.”
After punching in their time cards at 8 a.m. today, the Paul Yu workers assembled and went to the management office to negotiate the company’s response to their complaints. The main grievance of the workers is the work rotation that was implemented since December despite the fact that 40% of production is outsourced to contractors outside the factory. The workweek of regular and agency workers at Paul Yu has been reduced by half while job contracting has not stopped.
“Paul Yu is another case of a capitalist using the global crisis as an excuse to demolish workers rights and undercut labor standards. Workers are refusing to pay the price of a crisis that is not of their making. We salute the unity of regular and agency workers at Paul Yu, and their fight for labor rights,” stated Dennis Derige of Partido ng Manggagawa in Cebu.
Agency workers are also up in arms at the labor contractualization at Paul Yu. Many agency employees have worked for several years, some as long as five years, yet they remain irregulars whose contracts are renewed continuously every two months. Workers are also complaining of non-payment of holiday pay, non-remittance of SSS deductions for agency workers, non-implementation of paternity leave and non-payment of break time.
Management has plans to change the name of the company and relocate the factory to Carmen, a town in the far north of the Cebu. However workers are resisting the relocation since it will to their dislocation.