Statement of Solidarity with the Workers of the Manila Cordage Corporation and Manco Synthetic Inc.

  Regular Employment, not Contractualization! 14 May 2016   The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) expresses its support and solidarity for the striking workers of Manila Cordage Corporation and Manco Synthetic Incorporated (MCC-MSI). Last May 11, CTUHR,  together with the Church People-Workers Solidarity conducted a fact-finding missiontheir picketline in Carmelray Industrial Park I in Barangay Canlubang, Calamba City, Laguna.We saw the plight of the workers and listened to their issues and concerns in the said company. Manila Cordage Corporation and Manco Synthetic Incorporated are jointly-owned by Filipino and American businessemenand makers of rope for export. The MCC is owned by H.L. Health, Howard P. Strickler, Henry S. Mears, James Ross, Edward E. Selph. While the MSI is owned by Roberto Fernandez, Ricardo Camua, Maria Teresa Colayco, Virgilio Ibarra, RaymundYango. The two companies have different registration, but only one management.While the workers, 330 out of 378 of total workforce in MCC and 134 out 169 total workforce of MSI remain contractuals. Many of them hasserved the company for at least 8 years. The contractual workers forged their unity and formedtheir unions, namely the Manila Cordage Corporation-Employees Labor Union (MCC-ELU) and theManco Synthetic Inc.-Employees Labor Union (MSI-ELU). Both are affiliated with the labor federation of Organized Labor Association of Line Industries and Agriculture-Kilusang Mayo Uno (OLALIA-KMU).

MCC-MSI workers hold strike demanding regular employment

Workers of both companies, led by their union launched a strike last May 4, five days prior to the national election. The striking contractuals are demanding for job security through regularization of work. Other violations leading to strike are: Illegal Dismissals and Suspensions; Non-payment/underpayment of Service Incentive Leave (SIL); Non-payment of statutory contribution (SSS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig); Non-payment of 13 month pay; Discrimination of the implementation of Company Rules and Regulation (CRR); Non-Issuance of Personal Protective Equipment; Non-payment of holiday premium. The management of MCC-MSI, together with two manpower agencies, the Alternative Network Resources (ANR) and Worktrusted, has been denying the workers for regular employment for many years. It has been discovered that the ANR and Worktrusted were practicing Labor Only Contracting (LOC) and declared by Department of Labor and Employment as illegal due to violation of Department Order (DO) 18-A and Article 280 of Labor Code, in which according of this provision “an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which is necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer”. The workers have successfully registered their two unions last May 21, 2015. They had their certification of election (CE) last January 2016. But the management does not recognize the union. Instead, it responded with different forms of attack to the union members. To date, 14 union members of MCC and 15 members from MSI have been illegally dismissed. They push for the cancellation of the unions’ registrations, as they deny that they have an employer-employee relationship with the workers. According to the management, those union members are employee of the ANR and Worktrusted and not by the MCC-MSI. The DOLE through the Med Arbiter Maureen Tongson decided that the union members are challenge voters and it cannot cast their vote. This is a clear indication contradicts the earlier decision of DOLE that the workers of MCC-MSI are regular and the ANR and Worktrusted are practicing LOC, and the latter decision by not casting of vote in CE due to question of employer-employee relationship. Several violations of the occupation health and safety standards were observed in the mission. Some of the workers accidentally cut their fingers through the machines; others obtain burns and other injuries. Morover, the workers are left to shoulder all the expenses related to their injuries. They receive no compensation and no pay for their absences. These accidents occur due to the lack of provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The agencies sell PPEs at very high prices. The condition of the MCC and MSI workers reflect the condition of many Filipino workers who suffer the precarious workingconditions in the country, lack of job security and very low wages. Contractualization continues to be rampant because of loopholes in the labor laws that favor the local and foreign capitalists. Now that a new President and administration will soon assume power, we pose the challenge to stop contractualization of workers, legislate the P750 National Minimum Wage and address other labor problems that continue to hound the Filipino working class. Indeed the fight of the MCC-MSI workers is the fight of the Filipino workers. Only through struggle we can win our fight, for the better future. Let us join and strengthen the workers’ struggle for better working condition, employment and emancipation.###