The Workers' Communist Party of Norway (AKP) condemns the violence against striking Cottrell workers in the Philippines.
We have been informed of the illegal dismissals of Cottrell workers, the attack against the picket, shooting and injuring two workers and the attacks against the demonstrations to protest the former attacks.
We strongly condemn these fascist attacks and call on Norwegian unions to give moral and economic support to the injured workers to help pay their medical bills.
Johan Petter Andresen
Secretary for Trade Union Affairs
Two metalworkers manning the picket line were shot by company security guards in Cavite City last December 11, while a subsequent rally protesting the shooting was brutally dispersed by goons and policemen.
The two shooting victims were identified as Diosdado Marquez and Primo Fabricante, both members of Unyong Cottrell Network Phils. - Metal Industries Inc. - Independent. The former is also the union president.
Based on eyewitness accounts, Cottrell union members were manning the picket line in front of the plant at Trece Martirez, Cavite City at around 12 noon that day, when security guards sent by management attempted to break it up. In the ensuing scuffle, the guards fired their shotguns indiscriminately at the strikers, hitting Marquez on the leg and Fabricante in various parts of his body. The two were rushed to a nearby hospital, and were in critical condition for several days.
Their gunshot wounds have necessitated several surgical operations, and their medical bills are mounting. Since the Cottrell union ability to pay for the expenses is very limited, it is requesting for any financial support from other unions and labor advocates in the Philippines and abroad. You may course your donations to account number: 7128-00037-2, Far East Bank & Trust Company, Timog Branch, Quezon City, Philippines (account being used by KMU).
The security guards who shot the two were identified only by their last names: Legaspina, Maliksi and dela Cruz. All three are employed by Simpan Protector Security Agency, which is owned by Mayor Oscar Jaro of Imus, Cavite.
Not content with their criminal act, security guards backed by local police the next day arrested several strikers who managed to maintain the picket despite the constant harassment from the guards.
The Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK), the regional formation of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) in Southern Tagalog (to which Cottrell's union is affiliated), denounced the perpetrators at an anti-trade union repression rally-dialogue held by KMU and the National Coalition for the Protection of Workers' Rights II (NCPWR II) last December 12, at the International Labor Organization (ILO)-Manila office in Makati City. They also requested support for a planned indignation rally to be held two days later.
But the indignation rally on December 14, participated in by Cottrell Union, KMU National, PAMANTIK, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) and Workers Action Center (WAC), were also treated shabbily by company goons, security guards and Cavite police. The 150-strong contingent had barely set foot outside a church compound where they had massed up, and were preparing to walk towards Cottrell (some 3 kilometers away) when gun-toting goons set upon them. The attackers, disgorged by a police troop carrier, grabbed a megaphone and a still-camera of PAMANTIK and smashed these, and attempted to grab other cameras, specifically that of a paralegal-documentator of CTUHR.
The goons reserved no respect even for the nuns who were with the rallyists, roughing up even Sr. Emelina Villegas, ICM of the WAC. Several workers and supporters sustained bruises in the attack. During the melee, the incumbent mayor of Trece Martirez and the local police were observed by the rallyists to be indifferently looking on.
Cottrell workers have been protesting the illegal dismissal of 41 of their compatriots (out of a total work force of 80) last June 15. In addition, they are denouncing management's flagrant violations of basic workers rights, such as low wages, long working hours, lack of benefits, non-regularization of workers, non-remittance of social security deductions, and union-busting. They have already held a dialogue with management at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), but the agreements reached were always being flouted by the company.
The union's most recent picket protest, last December 8, led to the harsh reaction of management. The company is owned by Oscar Mitra and Peter Chen, a Korean, and makes heavy metal fabrications, steel structures for
buildings, and communications antenna, among other products.
Please send letters of Solidarity to the Union thru:
AND letter of protest to:
Please send copies to the KMU International Department, e-mail email@example.com, telefax 0063-2-7256781
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