Marching from Sto Domingo Church to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) building, Migrante International and Kilusang Mayo Uno together with retrenched workers here and abroad have joined forces to condemn the alleged inhuman and illegal dismissals being done by companies which are cutting down on labor due to the global financial and economic crisis.
JOINED FORCES. Migrante International decided to work with Kilusang Mayo Uno to launch a campaign against blatant labor rights violations and the accountability of the Arroyo government in failing to protect its workers. Photo courtesy of Migrante-KMU
“With the continuing mass lay-off presently occurring here and abroad, the Arroyo administration seems to have already thrown our labor rights in the garbage using the current global crisis as an excuse. The ongoing retrenchments, wage freeze, reduction of working hours, among other infringement of labor rights are direct attacks from greedy capitalists in collaboration with the Arroyo government. This is unacceptable. The inherent right of workers to due process cannot be set aside in whatever condition or circumstances, even at a time of severe crisis,” explains Gina Esguerra, Secretary General of Migrante International.
According to Migrante the government is also accountable for failing to stop the massive violations against the rights of workers especially on the current illegal retrenchments even at multinational companies that were hit by the global financial and economic crisis. The group explains that the employer can only legally terminate the services of its employee if the said worker has committed a crime against the company or has violated any provision from its contract as stated in article 282 of the Labor Code or if the employee decides to quit by submitting a resignation letter to the company of not less than a month notice.
“In the case of the 227, OFWs who were laid-off from the Advance Semi-conductor Engineering Company in Taiwan, the OFWs were terminated without any prior warning or proper notice. Worse, not only that they were not given any compensation or their separation pay, they even have to pay for their own airfare back home. And all these violations were committed against the OFWs in full knowledge of the officials of the Manila Economic Cooperation Office (MECO),” adds Esguerra.
Complaints from the retrenched workers reaching Migrante Office clearly indicate the culpability of the government through the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taiwan. MECO officials acted in defense of the companies and its brokers by forcing them to sign a voluntary resignation paper and quit claims instead of taking action in favor of the OFWs.
“Cases are already filed at the POEA since their arrival but until now, their quest for justice remains in deaf ears of the Arroyo administration. And after series of consultations from Migrante, OFWs also filed a case to NLRC for the money claims and unexpired portion of their contract. Until now, President Arroyo pushed her lip-service ‘President Arroyo Scholarship Program’ and ‘Filipino Expatriates Livelihood Support Fund’ to cover up the real state of retrenched workers and absolve its responsibility on the plight of the retrenched workers,” exclaims Esguerra.
Migrante and KMU announced that they are forming a joint campaign against inhuman and illegal dismissals, among other anti-worker schemes and calls all victims to approach their offices in Quezon City. The said campaign aims to challenge the judicial system in enforcing laws that guarantees the rights of workers and form an organization of victims of labor rights violations amidst of global financial and economic crisis.
“Workers, who produce the wealth of the world, have dignity and inherent rights that should be respected here and abroad. Migrante International decided to work with Kilusang Mayo Uno to launch a campaign against blatant labor rights violations and the accountability of the Arroyo government in failing to protect its workers. It is of utmost priority that the Arroyo administration should ensure that the labor rights of local and migrant workers are protected especially as the global financial and economic crisis intensifies” Esguerra concluded. # Migrante and KMU