Sofitel workers’ jobs should be protected – Labor NGO

June 9, 2024

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), an NGO that empowers workers in the formal and informal sectors of the economy in order to claim their labor and human rights, is calling on the government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to intervene into the reported closure of Sofitel on July 1 in order to protect the jobs of the hotel’s workers.

Workers of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila claims that the hotel’s closure is actually a planned rehabilitation and called on Philippine Plaza Holdings Incorporated, the hotel management, to retain their employment, recognize their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and acknowledge their union.

Amidst widespread unemployment and underemployment in the country, the least that the Marcos Jr government could do is probe deeply into the closure of companies that employ many workers, such as Sofitel, in order to protect jobs that are unionized and are covered by hard-won CBAs.

Sofitel’s management itself stated that the hotel is experiencing its best business performance year in the past 48 of its 50 years of existence. This is by itself a red flag for any company that plans or threatens to close. The government should investigate this for the workers’ sake. Preserving huge profits should not be made at the expense of workers’ jobs and rights.

CTUHR is calling on the government to investigate Sofitel’s claim that the hotel has become unsafe for clients, that it does not control the land on which the hotel stands and that it consulted the Department of Labor and Employment’s Occupational Safety and Health Center. The government should involve labor centers, institutions or organizations in investigating this claim.

CTUHR stands in solidarity with the National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN) Philippine Plaza Chapter (PPC), the Philippine Plaza Supervisors Chapter (PPSC) and all workers in the hotel industry who are opposing Sofitel’s closure and fighting for workers’ rights.

The Marcos Jr government should take action not only to protect workers’ jobs but also workers’ unions. Employers cannot be relied upon to increase workers’ wages, provide job security, recognize CBAs and unions and respect other labor rights. Unions are needed to do these things.

Furthermore, unions are vehicles for workers’ empowerment and participation in governance, both at the factory and government levels. Unionization is a labor and human right, because democracy needs unions. Without unions and democracy, oppression will persist and differences will worsen.###

(photo credit to Stand with Sofitel Workers Facebook page)