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Workers' Digest
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Workers’ Digest
Special Issue
March 2009

First workers strike against layoffs victorious

Workers of a furniture factory in Mandaue City in the central part of the Philippines were in high morale as they dismantled their picketlines after gaining a partial victory in their fight. The union of Giardini del Sole, one of the biggest furniture export factories in the Philippines, was the first to go on strike against mass layoffs since the onset of the global crisis.

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The workers of Giardini del Sole went on strike last February 3 and paralyzed their factory for two days which forced their management to go back to the negotiating table. The first two days of the strike was filled with tension as supervisors and non-striking workers were hauled by management in an attempt to cross the picketlines. But the strikers held their ground thus no rank-and-file worker was able to enter the factory and the factory remained paralyzed. Even the city mayor of Mandaue was unable to bamboozle the workers in allowing nonstrikers to enter.

The maximum demand of the strikers was for work rotation instead of mass layoffs. The work rotation scheme will be jointly supervised by management, the union and government officials with the power to recall laid off workers when demand and production revives.

“If we had not launched a strike that paralyzed the company, then we would have been without jobs and would have been lucky to receive a separation pay after six months. But because we fought for our rights, we got from management and the government a ‘bailout package’ that is more than what they were initially willing to give,” explained Primitivo Ginoo, Jr., president of the Nagkahiusang Puwersa nga Mamumuo sa Giardini (NPMG), the union at the Giardini del Sole.

(Read or download complete article)


 
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