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Welga inilunsad ng mga manggagawa ng Super 8

Inilunsad ng mga manggagawa ng Super 8 Warehouse ang kanilang welga sa Axis Road, Brgy. Kalawaan sa Pasig City noong Agosto 6 laban sa malawakang tanggalan sa kanilang kumpanya.

Itinayo nila ang welga dakong 7:00 ng umaga at lumahok ang 88 manggagawa.

Mariin nilang binatikos ang management na Matapat Service Cooperative na siyang pwersahang nagtanggal sa mga manggagawa.

Bukod dito, tinututulan din nila ang mahigpit na pamamalakad ng Agency, panggigipit at pangwawasak ng unyon.

Nagtungo sila sa Pasig City Hall kung saan kinausap sila ng bagong mayor ng syudad na si Vico Sotto.

Hiling nila na maibalik sila sa trabaho, maibigay ang kanilang mga naudlot na benepisyo at kilalanin ang bagong tayong unyon. Nasa 200 kontraktwal na mga manggagawa ang nasa Super 8 Warehouse sa Pasig.

Ito ay pagmamay-ari ni Alvin Lim, founder at CEO ng Super 8 Retail System at sister company din ng Suy Sing Commercial Corporation. (Music: News background Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

Striking workers are parents too

By Sanafe E. Marcelo

Photo by Sanafe Marcelo/Kodao

“I will do everything to send my children to school. I do not want them to experience this kind of difficult work,” said Marifor Busadre, 32, a mother of four and a contractual worker of Peerless Manufacturing Company (Pepmaco) for three years running.

Mariflor endures all kinds of pain at work, such as skin rashes because of direct contact with strong chemicals used for the manufacture of Pepmaco’s detergent products such as Champion. As a packer, she received P375 per day including overtime work. Her wage, way below the mandated minimum, is not enough to feed her family and it is a daily struggle to keep aside money for their other expenses such as her children’s school supplies. Her eldest is in high school.

Being a contractual worker worries her no end. “I joined this strike to fight for our rights. I am getting old. I hope that the management will grant our demand to make us regular workers and allow us back to work,” she said.

Marifor and dozens of other Pepmaco Workers Union members launched their strike last June 24. Aside from poor pay and being kept as contractual workers, they also complain of dire working conditions.

Photo by Sanafe Marcelo/Kodao

Like Marifor, Christine Sudoy, 22, is a three-year contractual worker, a mother and her family’s breadwinner. “I am worried that I can’t support the financial needs of my family. I am also worried for our health safety and work security,” Christine said, explaining why she too joined the strike. Christine said they often feel they were not being treated as humans, but as work animals and machines.

The company, she said, ordered them not to use gloves in handling the chemicals “because the products may be affected.” There were also no face masks provided, the management saying these cost too much at around P1,000 per piece. They work 12-hour shifts and days-off are prohibited. Women in the packing section carry around 11,000 kilos a day and only receive P610 a day, including overtime work. 

Aside from Champion detergent, Pepmaco also manufactures Systema toothpaste, Calla fabric conditioner, and Hana shampoo and hair conditioner.

Even if they do not succeed with their strike, Christine hopes things would be better for future Pepmaco workers. “I hope they do not experience the violations we suffered,” she said.

In the early hours of June 28, just four days into their strike, “goons wearing face masks and in full battle gear” arrived on board two vans and container vans and swooped down on the strikers’ camps while most of them were resting or sleeping. Eleven of the strikers were injured in the attack.

Photo by Sanafe Marcelo/Kodao

Romeo Aldamar, 33, nearly two years on the job as a contractual worker, was badly wounded when their picket line was attacked by company guards. “I was hit on the head, my skull and nose had bone fractures. The goons kept on spraying jets of water at me even if they could clearly see I was already bloodied,” he said.

Romeo’s wife, though still supportive of the workers’ strike, asked him to stop. But Romeo said he explained to her that he could not. “I will still stand together with the union to fight for our rights. I do this for our children,” he said.

Romeo dreams of sending his children to school and for them to finish college degrees. He said it is difficult for high school graduates like himself to find jobs. “I will endure anything for them. I wish they would never experience working in a factory like Pepmaco,” he said. #

Striking Pepmaco workers. (Photo by Sanafe Marcelo/Kodao)

Si Jimmy at mga manggagawa ng PEPMACO

Si Jimmy Sioson ay isang kontraktwal na manggagawa sa Peerless Producers Manufacturing Corporation o PEPMACO na sumali sa welga simula noong Hunyo 24 sa Canlubang, Laguna.

Ibinahagi niya na bukod sa pagiging kontraktwal, masahol ang kanilang kalagayan sa pagawaan. Walang safety procedure at napakainit ng sabon na kanilang niluluto. Bukod pa rito, 12 oras sila kung magtrabaho, at kahit holiday a pinapapasok pa sila nang walong oras.

Nang buwagin ang isa nilang picketline noong Hunyo 28, isa si Jimmy sa malubhang nasugatan. Bukod sa tinamaan ng bato ang kanyang ulo, pinagpapalo pa siya ng mga gwardya at binomba ng tubig.

Hiling niya na pansamantala munang i-boykot ang mga produkto ng PEPMACO at humarap ang may-ari para matugunan ang kanilang mga hinaing. Ang PEPMACO ay pagmamay-ari ng kapitalistang si Simeon Tiu. Ang kanilang mga produkto ay ang sabon na Champion, detergent powder na Calla, Hana shampoo at Systema toothpaste. (Background Music: Tangerine Dream-Valley of Sun Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

Si Lian at mga manggagawa ng PEPMACO

Si Leandra Segunla o Lian, 31 taong gulang at anim na taon ng production helper sa Peerless Products Manufacturing Corporation, mas kilala sa pangalang PEPMACO, ay isa sa mga sumali sa welga simula noong Hunyo 24.

Ayon kay Lian, bukod sa mababang sahod at kontraktwalisasyon, kalunos-lunos din ang kanilang kalagayan sa loob ng pagawaan. Nariyan na haluin nila ang kemikal ng sabon na walang gloves at kanilang mga kamay lamang. Sinabi pa niya na halos wala nang paglagyan ng paltos ang kamay niya dahil sa sobrang init ng sabon na niluluto nila.

Marami din ang tinanggal ng magbuo sila ng unyon. Apat na araw mula ng maitayo nila ang welga, marahas silang sinalakay ng mga gwardya at goons ng kumpanya. Winasak ang kanilang mga kubol at marami ang nasaktan.

Sa kabila nito, determinado silang ituloy ang welga dahil bukod sa makatwiran ito. Ito rin ang sandata ng kanilang pagkakaisa para makamit ang kanilang minimithi.

Ang PEPMACO ay pagmamay-ari ng kapitalistang si Simeon Tiu. Ang mga kilalang produkto nito ay sabon na Champion, Hana shampoo, Calla detergent powder at Systema toothpaste.

Music: Tangerine Dream-Valley of Sun
Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao

Pepmaco guards attack sleeping workers, 12 injured

Men wearing face masks attacked two separate camps of striking Peerless Products Manufacturing Corporation (Pepmaco) workers in Laguna at one o’clock this morning, injuring 11 workers.

Injured Pepmaco Workers Union workers. (PWU photos)

In an alert, the Pepmaco Workers Union said that hundreds of “goons wearing face masks and in full battle gear” arrived on board two vans and container vans and swooped down on their camps while most of them were resting or sleeping.

“They immediately swung with batons and fired jets of water at the workers who were prone on the ground,” the union said.

“Not contented with their initial attack, Simeon Tiu’s goons also threw big rocks at the workers,” the workers said.

Pepmaco owner Simeon Tiu. (PWU photo)

Tui owns Pepmaco, manufacturer of detergent brand Champion, as well as Systema toothpaste, Calla fabric conditioner, and Hana shampoo and hair conditioner.

Most of the victims suffered head injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital.

“The picket lines were destroyed, along with our food stash,” the workers added.

The attackers left on board the vans after while their shields and batons were taken inside the factory premises, they added.  

The workers also reported that one of the suspects was seen loitering outside the hospital where the injured were taken in an apparent attempt to intimidate the workers.

The workers launched their strike Monday complaining of mass termination, contractualization, union busting, low wages, 12-hour workdays, seven day workweeks, and unsafe working conditions.

Earlier, the union posted photos of workers with skin injuries resulting from the harsh chemicals used in manufacturing the company’s products.

Pepmaco workers’ injuries while working in the factory. (PWU photos)

Pregnant women also suffer miscarriages resulting from their unsafe working conditions, the workers complained.

The company has yet to issue any statement on the strike as well as on the attack on its workers.

The striking workers vowed to continue with their strike despite the incident. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Si Ka Lito, lider manggagawa sa pantalan

Si Ka Lito Luces, 59 taong gulang at isa sa mga haligi ng kilusang paggawa sa pier sa North Harbor sa Maynila. Simula 1995 ay siya na ang tagapangulo ng unyon (PAMBATO-LAND-KMU) na nangunguna sa kanilang mga laban para sa karapatan at kagalingan.

Sa kabila nang matinding tanggalan dulot ng kontratwalisasyon sa mga manggagawa sa pier, patuloy silang nakikibaka para labanan ito.

Hiling din nila na maitaas pa ang kanilang sahod. Ang kasalukuyan na P537 kada araw ito ay katumbas lamang na halos P400 ayon kay Ka Lito.

Natapos man ang araw ng manggagawa noong Mayo 1., sigaw nila sa gubyerno ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na itaas ang sahod sa buong bansa at wakasan ang anumang porma ng kontraktwaliasyon. (Bidyo ni Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)

KODAO ASKS: Ano ang masasabi mo sa pangako ni Duterte para sa mga manggagawa? (Mayo Uno 2019)

KODAO ASKS: Tinanong ng Kodao ang mga manggagawang lumahok sa Pandaigdigang Araw ng Paggawa 2019 kung ano ang kanilang opinyon hinggil sa mga napakong pangako ni Duterte para sa kanilang sektor.

Employers can afford Php750 minimum wage—IBON

Employers can very well afford to raise the minimum wage to Php750 which only entails a small cut in their profits, research group IBON said.

The Rodrigo Duterte administration should support this hike which will help millions of Filipino households dependent on wages and salaries cope with the rising cost of goods and services, said the group.

Current minimum wages are far from IBON’s estimate of the family living wage (FLW) needed by a family of five.

The current minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Php537 is already the highest in the country, but it is Php467 short of the Php1,004 FLW as of March 2019.

IBON said that raising the minimum wage to Php750 will significantly raise the incomes of Filipino workers.

The group’s computations also show that employers can afford to increase the minimum wage they pay to Php750.

In the NCR, raising the average daily basic pay (ADBP) of Php562 to Php750 will add Php4,095 to the monthly income and Php53,231 to the annual income (including 13th month pay) of employees.

IBON pointed out that this will only cost Php115 billion out of the Php1.17 trillion in profits of the 14,414 establishments in NCR, which is equivalent to just 9.8% of their profits.

Raising the ADBP of Php401 nationwide to Php750 will in turn add Php7,649 to employees’ monthly income and Php99,432 to their annual income (including 13th month pay).

This will cost the 35,835 establishments nationwide just Php465 billion or only 21.5% out of their Php2.16 trillion in profits, as per IBON computations.

The group stressed that meaningful wage hikes are doable if only companies were willing to accept a small cut in their profits.

IBON also pointed out that raising wages will not be inflationary if companies share a little more of their profits with workers instead of passing the wage hike on to consumers as higher prices.

These were estimated using the latest Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI) data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for enterprises with 20 or more workers.

IBON however underscored that the government can help micro, small and medium enterprises afford the wage hike by providing them tax breaks and incentives, cheap credit, subsidized utilities, and technology and marketing support.

The growing productivity of Filipino workers is among the main drivers of economic growth and they deserve a significant wage increase, IBON said.

The richest individuals and biggest corporations in particular have more than enough for granting wage increase.

It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that workers get a fairer share of the gains from economic growth rather than have these gains concentrated in the hands of a few, concluded IBON.#

Workers left behind in growing economy under Duterte administration

Wages of workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) continue to fall even as their growing labor productivity drives economic growth under the Duterte government, research group IBON said.

The mandated minimum wage is not even keeping up with the rising cost of living for ordinary Filipinos, the group revealed, adding that keeping wages low distributes wealth unevenly and worsens inequality.

The Philippine economy is slowing but real gross domestic product (GDP) still grew 6.7% in 2017 and 6.2% in 2018.

The regional GDP of NCR grew 6.2% and 4.8% in that same period, registering a total increase of 11.3% between 2016 and 2018.

In NCR, this economic growth was most of all driven by rising labor productivity. Labor productivity in NCR, measured by regional GDP divided by total employed, increased from Php568,092 per worker in 2016 to Php640,125 in 2018 or a total increase of 12.7% between 2016 and 2018.

These are IBON estimates using the latest available data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Yet despite rising labor productivity, the NCR real minimum wage is actually falling under the Duterte administration.

Measured at constant 2012 prices, this fell from Php467 in July 2016 to just Php457 in March 2019.

The Php46 worth of wage hikes since 2016 have been more than off-set by inflation and the continually rising costs of goods and services especially last year.

IBON also pointed out that the wage gap, or the difference between the minimum wage and the family living wage (FLW), is growing wider under the Duterte administration.

The NCR nominal minimum wage of Php491 in July 2016 was only 54.6% of the Php900 FLW for a family of five at the time.

Today, the NCR minimum wage of Php537 is just 53.5% of the Php1,004 FLW for a family of five.

The wage gap is even wider for a family of six where the NCR minimum wage is just 44.6% of the required Php1,205 FLW.

The research group said that real wages falling even further behind economic growth is worsening the elitist and exclusionary character of the economy.

Moreover, improving labor productivity is not translating to benefits for the working people but is instead going to bloating corporate profits and oligarch wealth.

The people are left to struggle with the rising costs of their food and non-food needs.

IBON stressed that the Duterte government is very much in a position to change this situation.

Among the most important measures is ensuring sufficient incomes for workers by legislating a national minimum wage of Php750.

IBON’s estimates using the latest available data, for 2016, show that a Php750 minimum wage in NCR will only cost 9.8% of the profits of establishments and still leave them with Php1.17 trillion in profits.

The increase in welfare for millions of workers and their families will however be palpable.#

Si Ate Melod at ang patuloy na pakikibaka ng SUMIFRU workers

Si Ate Melody “Melod” Gumanoy, 43 taong gulang, ay isa sa mahigit 300 manggagawa ng Sumifru, isang Japanese company sa Mindanao na nag-eexport ng mga prutas. Nagtungo sa Maynila ang mga nagwewelgang manggagawa ng Sumifru upang ipanawagan ang pagpapatigil ng kontraktwalisasyon ng kumpanya.

Mahigit 23 taon nang manggagawa si Melod sa Sumifru. Siya rin ang secretary ng Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (NAMASUFA-NAFLU-KMU). Nagsimulang magwelga ang mga manggagawa sa iba’t ibang planta ng Sumifru noong Oktubre 1, 2018, dahil ito sa pagmamatigas ng management ng kanilang kumpanya na gawin silang regular.

Sa kawalang suporta ng LGU sa kanilang lugar sa Compostela, Compostela Valley at patuloy na pandarahas sa kanila sa ilalim ng batas militar sa Mindanao, sa Maynila na nila ipinagpapatuloy ang kanilang laban. Isa lamang si Ate Melod sa marami pang kababaihang manggagawa na biktima ng hindi patas ang pagtrato, walang sapat na sahod at hanggang ngayon ay kontrakwal pa rin.

Patuloy na ipinaglalaban ng mga manggagawa ng Sumifru ang kanilang karapatan sa sapat na sahod, regularisasyon at pagkakaroon ng sapat at tamang benipisyo para sa mga kababaihan at matatanda. (Bidyo ni: Jo Maline D. Mamangun/ Kodao)