Workers stage rally against retrenchment

WORKERS at Carmen Copper Corp. in Toledo City staged a rally yesterday and called on management to stop the retrenchment of 500 of their colleagues on June 4.

Dennis Derige, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) spokesman, said that when Carmen Copper was placed under rehabilitation, it hired 6,000 workers with a quota to produce 30,000 tons of copper daily.

After the rehabilitation, the number of workers was reduced to 3,000, but their quota was raised to 60,000 tons.

“Now that they reduced the production to 40,000 tons of copper they want to terminate the services of another 500 workers? This is the reason the affected workers are in doubt that the real motive of the management is to hire contractual workers,” Derige said.

He said that while the law allows the retrenchment of workers, this will only apply in extraordinary circumstances, considering that security of tenure of regular employees is protected by the 1987 Constitution.

Assistance sought

Derige said retrenchment order is abrupt and will surely affect their families.

According to Derige, PM will represent the workers in calling the attention of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III and incoming president Rodrigo Duterte to stop the retrenchment.

In his speeches during his campaign sorties, Duterte promised to abolish contractualization and protect workers from abusive employers.

Derige said the rally yesterday was just an opening salvo in a series of protests to dramatize the workers’ demand for job retention.

Lawyer Cathy Fontanoza of the Carmen Copper legal department said she has forwarded the issues raised by PM to management.

Department of Labor and Employment 7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga said retrenchment is allowed by law but management is required to submit a 30-day notice.

Circumstances like the lack of market and lack of raw materials, high production cost and calamities can be some of the reasons management can use to justify a retrenchment order.

Sarcauga said Dole can aid retrenched workers by referring them to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for training, or providing displaced workers with livelihood.
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