April 26, 2010
More than a hundred workers of an electronics firm walked out of their factory before noon today and marched to gates of the Cavite Economic Zone in Rosario, Cavite in protest at mass layoffs. Workers for the morning shift of the Dyna Image Corp. Phils., an export firm owned by Chinese foreigners, who were supposed to be retrenched on May 10, were suddenly called management to a meeting around 10:00 am. Their cellphones were confiscated, then asked to sign quit claim forms and receive separation pay on the spot.
“This was a desperate move by management to avert their responsibilities for the illegal retrenchment and harassment of workers. Management is supposed to attend the preventive mediation hearing set for tomorrow. Instead they told the workers that the hearing tomorrow is cancelled in order to entice workers to accept the severance pay,” explained Virgielita Morite, president of the newly formed Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Dyna Image Corp. Phils.
Morite led workers who did not accept the separation pay in marching from the factory and they held a program at the gates of the export zone. Workers from the afternoon shift joined the protest at the export zone gates instead of reporting for work. Morite announced that hundreds of union members will accompany them in the 2:00 pm hearing tomorrow at National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB)-Regional Adjudication Board IV in Imus, Cavite.
Dennis Sequena, a leader of the Partido ng Manggagawa in Cavite, questioned the presence of a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) official during the meeting called by management. He asserted that “Why is Edwin Hernandez of the DOLE-Region IV telling workers that the company is terminating workers because it is facing difficulties. The job of the DOLE officers is to protect workers not be management’s spokesperson.”
“If the company is suffering difficulties, why is production in full blast and workers required to do overtime work,” Morite questioned. The mass layoff of 450 workers, about half of the total workforce of 933, pushed the workers employees to form a union and file a case with the NCMB for preventive mediation.
The Dyna Image union will participate in the Partido ng Manggagawa’s Labor Day protest on May 1. More than a thousand workers riding some 500 motorcycles will take part in a “Sakbayan Para sa Dagdag Sahod at Trabahong Regular.” The motorcade will be led by riders clubs in Cavite, Laguna and Batangas whose membership are overwhelmingly workers.