Garment Workers Set To Hold Strike On Oct. 13

Bharat Textile, 7 October 2003

The Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) and its allied labour groups announced that 50,000 workers will hold a work-stoppage on October 13 to protest the series of closures of garment firms in Philippines.

Dubbed Workers&' Mutiny, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) president Victor Briz said the protest action was prompted by the recent closure of Novelty Philippines, one of the biggest producers of baby clothes in the country.

About 2,365 workers, 90 percent of them women, were laid off when the ParaƱaque City-based garment firm shut down last Sept. 28.

In support of the laid-off workers, the Partido ng Manggagawa and the BMP said that 50,000 workers from 100 labor unions, a third of them from garment and textile firms, based in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog will participate in the one-day work stoppage.

A PM official said that workers will camp out outside their company premises in the morning and then proceed to Mendiola near MalacaƱang Palace, where they will stage a rally.

This is a signal fire of a class war. In the face of a capitalist offensive, it is time that we launch a defensive action against closures, casualization and contractualization, Glory Vitalicio, president of the Novelty Philippines employees union, said.

According to records, there are about 1,200 garment and textile firms operating in the country. The industry employs about 400,000 workers.

In recent months, PM said at least 6,000 workers had been laid off while thousands of others were placed on rotation.