Support the striking workers of Sumifru and SMT!

October 3, 2018

Statement
ILPS-Phils
3 October 2018

The Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils) calls on all workers and labor rights defenders to support the on-going strike at the multinational firm Sumifru in Compostela Valley, Mindanao and the occupation of workers at the electronics export firm SMT in Laguna, Southern Tagalog Region.

Over 900 workers of Sumifru went on strike yesterday and paralyzed operations across eight banana packing plants after the company refused to face collective bargaining negotiations with the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (NAMASUFA), the local union affiliated with the National Federation of Labor Unions, Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU).

The workers, hired as contractuals since in 2006, were covered by a June 2017 Supreme Court ruling asserting that a formal employer-employee relationship exists between Sumifru and NAMASUFA members. However, Sumifru refuses to recognize the workers and the union’s demands for better pay and working conditions.

Worse, Sumifru workers are being subjected to brutal repression, especially with martial law declared by Pres. Duterte in Mindanao. An April 2018 fact-finding mission to Compostela Valley reported that Sumifru workers were being targeted and red-tagged by the 66th IB of the Philippine Army and discouraged from joining the union or any KMU-affiliated organization, or participating in union activities. There was even a slay attempt on union leader Vincent Ageas last August.

Meanwhile, some 100 workers of SMT electronics in Laguna occupied the grounds of the factory to protest the company’s illegal lockout and union-busting.

SMT is an electronics manufacturing firm operating in an export-processing enclave in Laguna, Southern Tagalog Region. The factory is a supplier of Epson.

Workers’ real wages throughout the country have sunk to new lows as the present dispensation imposed new taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. The World Bank’s “Future of Work” espouses further labor market deregulation to extract more superprofits for multinational corporations.

These and other issues will be tackled at the People’s Global Conference slated for October 8-14, 2018 in time for the upcoming IMF-World Bank meet in Bali, Indonesia.

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