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Philippines: Police disperse garment workers at picket line citing lockdown as reason

“Police disperse picketline using lockdown as alibi”, 11 April 2020

A picketline of economic zone workers in Dasmarinas, Cavite was dispersed last night using the lockdown as an alibi … [T]wo Dasmarinas police backed up with scores of tanods of Barangay Langkaan 1 and 2 and security guards threatened two workers in the picketline … with arrest if they will not leave the picketline. Workers of Korean-owned Sejung Apparel Inc. in the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) have been on picket-protest since December for non-payment of 13th month pay and other violations.

…  [Jopay Odchimar, president of the labor union of Sejung workers said] “The guidelines and labor rights are not revoked or suspended just because a quarantine is in effect,” Odchimar insisted.

“For more than four months, the Department of Labor and Employment provincial and regional offices did not act on a clear case of labor standards violation despite undertaking an inspection…” Odchimar explained.

The labor dispute is due to non-payment of 13th month pay, last salary and union busting. Sejung declared temporary shutdowns several times. The first shutdown in October last year occurred just one week after the union submitted a collective bargaining proposal … The company reopened but once more closed in December and has remained shutdown since then.