Friday, June 25, 2004

Philippines government orders strikers back to work

Striking day and swing shift workers at a Taiwanese electronics exporter in Subic Bay industrial estate were last week given 14 hours by the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to return to work. DOLE claimed that the strike, which began on June 16, threatened the economic interests of the country.

The small company, Taian (Subic) Electronic Inc. (TSEI), employs just 144 workers. Acting Labor Secretary Manuel Imson claimed “a prolonged stoppage of the [TSEI] operation will deprive the [Philippines] economy of very much needed foreign revenues” and “may act as a deterrent to investors to invest in our economic zone”.

Union spokesman Jimmy Mamolo said the union had been surprised when at 9 p.m., on June 16, while at the picket line, he was served with a DOLE order to vacate the area or face dispersal by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) law enforcement officers.

The strike is over unfair labour practices, especially harassment, illegal transfer of machines, union busting and illegal suspension of employees. The union is also demanding that perjury cases against two union officials be dropped. DOLE has asked the National Labor Relations Commission to resolve the dispute within 30 days

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