A women’s organization has congratulated the workers of Bleustar Management and Marketing Corporation (BMMC), which makes and distributes Advan shoes and rainboots, for their victorious strike. The victory resulted in the recognition of their union, the reinstatement of illegally dismissed workers and the formation of Committee of Decorum and Investigation in their workplace to investigate and address their complaints of sexual harassment.
“Especially on the case of sexual harassment, this is a landmark victory for the women workers,” said Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA secretary-general, in a statement.
BMMC’s women workers first approached the Public Attorney’s Office of the Muntinlupa City in 2005 to file a complaint against the sexual harassment committed by the company owners against them. They were then advised to form a union in order to have their grievances addressed. This they did, but last month their union leaders and members were dismissed and the certification election for union recognition were marred by allegations of manipulation by management. This led the workers to stage a strike.
“We hope that this victory would serve as an inspiration to other women workers to have the courage to speak out and fight against sexual harassment in their workplace,” De Jesus said. “The unity of workers, men and women, bound by the militance and determination of a genuine trade unionism can advance the interest of women workers. We hope that the Advan workers will continue to fight for women’s rights and be able to help other workers in similar predicament.”
“Let this victory also serve as a lesson to employers to uphold the rights of women workers and as a prompt call to the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to investigate and censure all other workplaces that violate not only the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law of 1995 but the inherent right of women workers against exploitation and abuse,” De Jesus added. (Bulatlat)