The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights expressed support to the Tanduay workers who have been on strike since May 18 following the unjust dismissal of contract workers who have organized into an association.

“We express our support to Tanduay workers who despite harassment remain staunch in fighting for regular employment. Like many workers in the country, the 397 contractual workers in Tanduay deserve to be given regular status and all benefits accorded to regular employees,”  Daisy Arago, executive director of the labor NGO said.

On May 15, Friday, most contract workers of Tanduay organized under the banner Tanggulan, Ugnayan, Daluyan ng Lakas ng Anakpawis ng Tanduay Distillers Inc. (TUDLA) were not given work schedule which, based on previous practice of HD Manpower Service Cooperative (HD) and Global Pro-Workers Multipurpose Cooperative (Global), both labor contractors of Tanduay, is equivalent to dismissal from work.

On May 18, Monday, TUDLA launched a strike and put up a picket line in front of the gates of the Asia Brewery Complex and the Tanduay compound which can be found inside the said industrial complex in Cabuyao, Laguna.

Workers under TUDLA believe that their “dismissal” from work is connected to their effort at organizing themselves into an association and their pending complaint questioning the legitimacy of the two labor contractors.

Meanwhile, CTUHR also condemned the brute force used by the security personnel of Asia Brewery Inc. to disperse the striking Tanduay workers.

On May 19, at least 50 individuals from the picketline in Tanduay were reportedly injured as security personnel and hired goons of the ABI trained water cannons and threw stones at the striking workers and beat them with big cudgels and truncheons to disperse the strikers and dismantle the picket line in front of the Tanduay compound.

“Indeed, big capitalists like Lucio Tan will do anything in order to protect their business even if it leads to violence and injuries to workers. And what is even more appalling is that the government and police stay mum, even side with the management when the workers are holding peaceful protests with legitimate demands,” Arago added.

Arago added that the violent dispersal in Tanduay further expose the Aquino government’s anti-worker and anti-poor attitude.

Only 40 workers, or less than 10 percent Tanduay’s workforce, are regular employees while the remaining 397 are employed through labor contractors, HD and Global. Early this year, workers under TUDLA signed a Special Power of Attorney questioning the status of HD and Global as legitimate job contractors.

“The case of Tanduay workers demonstrates how companies have widely exploited contract labor, both through legitimate and illegal contractors, in order to amass more profit. Indeed, contractualization should be banned altogether as such kind of working arrangement only promotes insecurity and poverty wages,” Arago added.

The group added that the fight of the Tanduay workers is an inspiration to all contractual workers in the country. “We urge the public to show their support to the Tanduay workers because theirs is the plight and struggle of many of Filipino workers today,” Arago said.###