features from SOBRIETY for the PHILIPPINES:
(Without Fear or Favor)
Friday, June 1, 2012
When the collective bargaining negotiations reached an impasse on the issue of wage increases, the management isolated the union president, withheld union dues, and initiated punitive action against the workers who attended the recent May 1 rally.
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – In the Aboitiz-owned electric cooperative supplying electricity to a greater part of Cebu in the Visayas, unionists are being punished for having joined the May 1 Labor Day rally, for having posted union updates in Facebook and in general, for having asked for a wage hike.
Punishments so far included revoking the union’s registration, compelling its members to delist the union president from its roster and to deactivate the union’s Facebook account. The company has also placed the May Day protesters under “administrative investigation,” following the sacking of the union president for having spoken at an earlier May 1 rally.
In addition, the management has also “sentenced” the acting union president (the vice-president) to work at the electric company’s poleyard, an area the union describes as “very isolated, with no basic amenities such as water” in front of a reclamation area. The transfer effectively cuts off the acting president from union members.
The 252-strong union represented by electrical engineers and professionals has recently filed a notice of strike over unfair labor practices including union-busting. They also protest the interference on union affairs by the management of Visayan Electric Company. VECO employs nearly 900 employees counting those under contractual employment arrangement. Jaime Jose Y. Aboitiz is its Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President.
Looming strike already under threat
Attacks on the union, its leaders and members apparently started when the collective bargaining talks between the management and the union of workers of the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) reached the part concerning wages. Prior to that, the union noted that in all thirteen (13) negotiation meetings, the VECO management and the union have forged agreements..... MORE
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