2006 Worst Year for Human Rights in Davao Regions — 4. Intensifying Trade Union Repression

Dec. 03, 2006

4. Intensifying Trade Union Repression

Data from Center for Trade Union and Human Rights in Southern Mindanao revealed Fifty four (54) cases of threat/harassment/intimidation, fourteen (14) cases of restriction of right to organize, nine (9) cases of red tagging, four (4) cases of illegal arrest and four (4) cases of illegal detention involving approximately seven hundred four (704) workers of Compostela have been documented by the regional staff of the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights from 2004 to the present. More than half of all recorded incidents since 2004 have occurred in the last six months.

The 404th Brigade under Maj. Arnold Audiencia encamped at the vicinity of Brgy. Hall of Osmea and members of the said brigade are wreaking havoc towards the legitimate workers union in the area specifically the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Osmea in packing plant 90, Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms-in packing plant 98, Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa San Jose- in packing plant 95 and the Packing Plant 92- workers union.

In August 2005, the 28th Infantry Battalion conducted meetings in three organizing banana packing plants. Workers were told to refrain from union activities, told that their union leaders were organizers of the New Peoples Army, and that the company would close if they persisted in organizing a KMU-led union. In barangay San Jose, where Packing Plant 95 is located, military men removed and burned the streamers of NAMASAN that had their unions demands written on them. In late September 2006, seventy striking members of NAMASAN were arbitrarily detained for three days at the Compostela Gym in the midst of an ongoing labor dispute. They have since been released under the custody of a City Councilor who sits on the municipalitys labor committee.

Starting in early 2006, workers and leaders of Packing Plants 90 and 92 have been receiving numerous death threats through text messages, while the President of NAMASUFA is under constant surveillance and had two armed men enter his house in mid-June.

Indeed, the capitalist conscious effort to bust the union is evident by the presence of 12 soldiers of 404th brigade inside the Packing plant 90-workplace and conducted their witch-hunting activity.

The Trade Union human rights violations serve the purpose of trying to bust genuine unions which are a direct obstacle to the interests of the foreign capitalists. More than half of all recorded incidents since 2004 have occurred in the last six months.

Continue reading: 5. Filing False Charges to Justify Illegal Arrest and Detention and Harass Critics

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