“We cannot be blocked by legalities that would further put workers away from their rightful demands.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA — Contractuals in an ongoing strike continued to mark their one-year shutdown of company operations by trooping to government agencies in Metro Manila. They are opposing their employers’ bid to get an approval from these agencies toward ending the strike without resolving the issues that caused it.
The workers of MCC-MSI have slammed the issuance of any restraining order. They reason that it would hamper attempts at resolving the strike.
“We cannot be blocked by legalities that would further put workers away from their rightful demands,” said Allan Bagas, secretary-general of regional militant labor center PAMANTIK-KMU.
With supporters from the contractuals’ labor center, the Liga ng Manggagawa para sa Regular na Hanapbuhay (Liga), they held a picket and put up a temporary camp in front of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Manila on June 8. The commission has held hearings since January on the petition of Manila Cordage Company (MCC) and Manco Synthetic, Inc. (MSI) for the NLRC to issue a TRO (temporary restraining order) and a PIO (Permanent injunction order). The workers’ group said if granted, it will allow the company’s “scabs” into the factories.
The strikers are demanding regularization on their jobs under their rightful employers, the MCC and MSI. The Department of Labor and Employment itself has confirmed that they are indeed employees of the said corporations. Last year, the DOLE released an order to MCC and MSI following its inspection. But MCC and MSI are denying that these contractuals are their employees even if they have worked for them for up to eight years. They said these contractuals are under labor cooperatives, but the Labor department has found out already that these cooperative are into illegal labor-only contracting. As such the DOLE has said the contractuals’ employers are in fact the MCC and MSI.
MCC and MSI attended hearings in the NLRC on January 13, February 8 to 10, and June 5. They failed to get their requested TRO given their failure to comply with government requirements. The Court of Appeals is set to issue a decision on the legality of their labor strike this month. It hinges on whether the court would recognize the true employers of the workers.
Contractuals from MCC and MSI located in Carmelray Industrial Park I, Brgy. Canlubang, Calamba City, Laguna, began their strike May 4 last year. They barricaded the gates thus paralyzing production. The rest of the workers either cannot come in or did not report for work in support of the strike. MCC and MSI, makers of rope, employ over a hundred workers each.