Harassment at Manila union election

24 October 2018 06:07

Construction workers in Manila who want to form a union are being attacked by their employer – the subcontractor Seapac Philippines.

At a certification election to determine the workers’ exclusive bargaining agent, conducted by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment, the General Manager at Seapac Philippines confronted and harassed Danilo Laserna, legal counsel of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), forcing him to exit the premises.

“It is shameful that a workers’ representative would be treated with such disdain, however, this reflects an established pattern of anti-union behavior”, said BWI Regional Representative Apolinar Tolentino. “The company has already filed a petition attempting to cancel the registration of the enterprise union at Seapac and is disputing the eligibility of project workers to vote.”

The results of the election were themselves inconclusive since the company challenged the votes of almost two-thirds of workers to participate in the election on the basis that they were simply project employees without permanent tenure.

“It is true that we have a crisis of temporary work here in the Philippines, but there is nothing in Philippine law to suggest that project workers cannot vote in a union election”, said Laserna. “We are hoping to meet with company management soon to discuss this issue, however, workers will not back down in pursuit of their legal rights.”

Seapac Philippines is a construction subcontractor specialising in aluminum and glass facades, doors and windows.