Collapsed Philippine cement deal gives workers shot at justice

21 May 2020 03:13

The collapse of LafargeHolcim’s plan to sell its Philippine operations, after it failed to secure a regulatory clearance from the Philippine Competition Commission, has given workers from the cement giant’s Davao plant another shot at justice, according to the Davao Holcim Employees Workers Union-Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (DAHEWU-Sentro). 

 "LafargeHolcim’s global business model is to outsource its operations wherever possible. The cancelation of this deal is a welcome development as it prevents LafargeHolcim to once again outsource responsibility for its labour abuses,” said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson.

On February 2019, around 100 subcontracted workers at the Davao factory were dismissed without justification after forming a union to represent their interests and fighting for equal treatment among contract and regular workers.

The workers refused to accept this treatment, and filed a complaint based on OECD guidelines, together with BWI, before the Swiss National Contact Point on December 2019. Their complaint detailed how subcontracting was used to deprive workers of the wages and benefits they have negotiated under their collective bargaining agreement. 

“The workers terminated by LafargeHolcim were deprived of living wages, subjected to grueling work schedules and endured an unsafe working environment for years, as a result of the legal loopholes provided by subcontracting,” said Nelson Sator, President of DAHEWU-Sentro.

“These radical outsourcing practices has also put regular workers’ rights and benefits, as negotiated and provided for by our CBA, at risk. As such, it is not surprising that regular and contractual workers have fought side by side on these issues,” Sator added. 

Sator said that the dismissed workers remain resolute in their commitment to pursue justice. 

“This development gives us hope that through our struggle we will achieve justice.”