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Picketing laid-off workers accuse Holcim of harassment during rally

A labor union group condemned the alleged attack on workers of Holcim Cement who held a picket rally during the Labor Day last May 1.

In a press statement by the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa Davao Chapter, 20 alleged goons with weapons harassed the picketing workers after they were laid off.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Holcim said it “takes exception to and denies Sentro’s accusations against the company’s involvement in the removal of Sentro’s streamers.”

According to Michael Ibañez, Sentro Davao coordinator, said, “Some of the workers at Holcim have served for a maximum of 34 years. They stayed that long because they also have nowhere to go to.”

He said the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) issued an order for Holcim to regularize casual workers.

“These fired laborers were those who voiced out their demand for regularization. But those who filed a complaint to Dole were fired,” he said. “These 141 workers removed from post under the packing operations are working for necessary and desirable positions and outputs directly related to the business. No product of Holcim that do not go under their hands. Hence, we deem it illogical to fire them,” Ibañez said.

Sentro claimed that the unidentified motorcycle-riding men broke the picket and confiscated all the banners and placards. The workers blamed Holcim as behind the harassment.

“We don’t have anyone in mind other than the Holcim management. We have no one against this issue but them,” Ibañez said.

According to Ibañez, the unusual simultaneous turning off of lights during the incident only bolstered their belief about the company’s involvement.

“The Holcim answered us but they denied these activities,” Ibañez said. “But if it’s true that they did nothing, we challenge them to release CCTV footages on that particular hour at May 1.”

The union intends to raise the matter to the Dole, Philippine National Police, Commission on Human Rights, International Labor Organization, and the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation.

It also said the destruction of the picket line of the protesters are pure propaganda to malign the company.

“Labor Day, as the chosen time to remove those materials, betrays propaganda and malicious intent to put in question Holcim’s integrity. Whoever removed those streamers, had no other motive but to unjustly put Holcim to shame, which, will not prosper as Holcim follows the law and respects human rights and will continue to do so,” it said.

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