“If Ka Bel were alive today, he would be here with us fighting the union-busting drive of many capitalists in collusion with the DOLE and the Aquino government. We are giving him the highest tribute in continuing the struggle for workers’ rights, to which he devoted his life.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA — Marking labor leader Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran’s sixth death anniversary, workers illegally dismissed from work because of company managements’ drive to bust unions picketed the Department of Labor and Employment this morning. They condemned what they call as the agency’s complicity in union busting.
Workers of Pentagon Steel Corporation who were dismissed from work on April 13, 2013 and workers of Express Coat Enterprises Incorporated who were dismissed from work on March 1, 2014 joined forces to condemn the Labor Department’s refusal to punish the two companies for busting its workers’ unions.
The workers of Pentagon also condemned the permanent injunction order issued this month by the National Labor Relations Commission, an agency attached to the DOLE, against their picket-protest outside the company’s premises in Barangay Apolonio Samson, Quezon City.
“The numerous cases of illegal dismissal committed against workers who were forming unions show that DOLE stands for ‘Department of Labor Exploitation,’”said Leandro “Doods” Gerodias, president of the Association of Democratic Labor Organizations.
He cited the importance of unions in upholding workers’ rights, and criticized the DOLE’s complicity with union busting which, he said, shows that it is against workers’ rights.
ADLO is a KMU federation in which the unions of Pentagon and Express workers are affiliated to. Gerodias is also the deputy secretary-general of KMU.
“If Ka Bel were alive today, he would be here with us fighting the union-busting drives of many capitalists in collusion with the DOLE and the Aquino government. We are giving him the highest tribute in continuing the struggle for workers’ rights, to which he devoted his life,” Gerodias added.
The workers also condemned the DOLE for merely paying lip service to the government’s rhetoric of “job generation” in allowing capitalists’ “job destruction” when workers who are removed from work are exercising their right to form unions.
They cited the recent cases of the 2,600 workers of Hoya Glass Disk Philippines based in Sto. Tomas, Batangas who were dismissed last April and of the 3,600 workers of Carina Apparel, Incorporated based in Biñan, Laguna who were dismissed last February.
The labor department often cite the need to generate jobs via foreign investments especially in special economic zones whenever they mention the need for Filipino workers to “be competitive.”
But according to Gerodias, “Jobs are being destroyed everywhere because capitalists dismiss workers for forming unions while the labor department is doing nothing about it. We have every reason to believe that ‘job generation’ is just a rhetoric being overused by the government to justify further violation of workers’ rights.”