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55 cases of TUHR violations recorded on the first half of 2014

  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.   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.  

Pamantik KMU 13May1

There are two recorded cases of extra-judicial killings in the labor and urban poor sectors. Henry Orbina, worker at BMH Manpower Services in Sorsogon, and Resty Torres, resident of Sitio San Roque were killed on Jan 30 and Jan 27 respectively. Orbina’s death is linked to the government’s “counter-insurgency” program while Torres’ death is related to their community’s resistance to the demolition of urban poor communities in San Roque, Quezon City. To date there are at least 20 workers and urban poor extra-judicially killed since Aquino took office in July 2010.   Fifteen union organizers, unionists and workers were arrested or detained on 8 instances while 138 others were threatened, harassed, intimidated by management or state police to curtail their right to protest.   In terms of rights at work, cases of illegal dismissal and violation of right to union and collective bargaining affected 7,800 workers. At least 6,382 workers lost their jobs after four companies (Hoya Glass Disk Philippines, Creative Stone Tech Inc, Carina Apparel Inc., and University of San Carlos - Talamban Campus) either closed down or downsized.  Another 445 workers were also illegally dismissed due to labor disputes in the following companies: NXP Semiconductors Philippines Inc. (24), Express Coat Enterprises Inc. (21) and Carmen Copper Corporation-Galeo Equipment and Mining Company (400).   Non-recognition of union, union-busting, harassment of unionists inside the workplace, interference on trade union affairs, anti-union discrimination continue adding to 13 cases combined while another four cases of bargaining in bad faith affected 4,340 workers. Notably, the union in NXP Semiconductors Inc. Philippines faced both union busting and issues in collective bargaining negotiations as all of its 24 union leaders were dismissed for not going to work on four official holidays in April and May including Labor Day (See related article).   CTUHR coordinator for documentation and monitoring Arman Hernando said, “The persistence of TUHR violations belie the government’s claim that industrial peace has been achieved. Rather the continuing violation on civil liberties and rights at work, whether these are right to regular jobs, to organize themselves or right to collective bargaining, only show that the current government perpetuates and embeds an anti-union atmosphere.”

TUHRV Table Jan-June 2014

  Meanwhile, an average of 280 urban poor families lose their homes each month as nearly 1,700 families have been displaced due to demolition of homes in nine instances during the first six months of the year. Violent demolitions in urban poor communities in San Roque, Quezon City and Tondo Manila resulted in physical injuries to 61 individuals while 11 urban poor residents were arrested and detained in the demolition of homes in San Roque, Quezon City. Demolitions are either due to private development projects such as the Vertis North in QC Business District or government projects such as road widening.###