Holcim workers cry foul over abrupt termination of working contracts

Mar. 06, 2019

Over 100 workers of Holcim Philippines Inc., Davao Plant protest outside the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional office in Davao City on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 after they were laid off by their contractor, Fort Steel Cargo Integrators, Inc., issued a termination order on Monday evening, March 4. (Ken E. Cagula/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Over 100 contractual workers of Holcim Philippines Inc., Davao Plant were illegally terminated despite a regularization order coming from the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Nelson Sator, president of the Davao Holcim Employees Workers Union (DAHEWU) told reporters during their protest rally on Tuesday that the workers were greatly surprised when their contractor, Fort Steel Cargo Integrators, Inc., issued a termination order on Monday evening, March 4.

The issuance of the termination order was also witnessed by representatives from DOLE-11, Sator added.

Refusing to sign a quit claim, the workers were barred by the security guards from entering the plant, he added.

Among those affected by the termination order was Ronald Leonsada, a worker at Holcim Davao for over 17 years.

Leonsada told reporters that they are underpaid despite being required to work at the company’s packing plant for 12 hours per day.

“Our salary is below the required minimum by the government. We do not have rest days and clear benefits,” he complained.

Joel Bañas, chairman of labor group Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) in Davao explained that a labor inspection in the company was conducted last 2017, where irregularities were found out including the performance of illegal labor-only contracting.

He explained that hundreds of workers of Holcim Davao actually have work directly related to the company.

“Naa ganiy gihimong inspection, ug naa nay resulta, tapos karon ka magtanggal?” Bañas asked.

(An inspection was already facilitated with results, then suddenly they decide to fire the workers.)

He stressed that the termination of Holcim workers is a clear violation of laws.

Bañas also slammed the presence of DOLE-11 representatives during the mass termination of workers.

He pointed out that DOLE is supposed to be the concerned agency in implementing rules on employment and responsible for settling labor disputes.

“Dapat magpatunga sila, dili sila mahimong agent ni employer aron hadlukon o impluwensyahan ang mga workers nga mudawat nalang sila.Dili niana ang role sa DOLE,” Bañas said.

(They should have been in the middle and not act as an agent of the employer to sow fear or influence the workers and force them to accept [the order]. That’s not the role of DOLE.)

“Ang promise sa atoa ni Presidente [Rodrigo] Duterte wagtangon niya ang contractualization, pero hangtod karon, even sa atong region, talamak man gihapon ang illegal form of contractualization,” Bañas added.

(The promise of President Rodrigo Duterte is to end the contractualization scheme but until now, even here in the region, illegal contractualization is still being practiced.)

DOLE-11 has yet to issue a statement regarding the mass termination of workers at Holcim Davao. (davaotoday.com)

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