Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 1997 09:27:29 -0400
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Sam Lanfranco <lanfran@YORKU.CA>
Subject: Philippines: Solidarity for Westbay Garment Workers (fwd)

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997 08:09:55 +0800 (GMT+0800)
From: Bayan <> (by way of
(by way of J. Calvin Bugho OFM <>) Subject:

Solidarity for Westbay Garment Workers

BAYAN, 8 August 1997

Dear co-workers and friends:

We write to seek your assistance in our ongoing fight against our employer, Westbay Corporation.

Westbay is the Philippine component of the multinational fabric and garments operations of the Mamiye and Wang families in Hongkong. Westbay, together with the more than 10 companies in Asia and South America operated by the Mamiyes and Wangs, provides most of the children's garments sold under the Kids R Us and Disney labels in the United States and elsewhere.

Westbay employs about 500 employees (mostly women) in its plant located (on) 868 Champaca Road Ext., UPS IV, Km. 19, South Superhighway, Paranaque, Metro Manila. Most of its employees are members of our union.

Since the start of the year, Westbay has inflicted on us atrocious unfair labor practices. In these, it was assisted by two labor department agencies, ie. the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). These are plain from the following narration of events.

January, 1997. Westbay has indicated that it will lay-off about a hundred employees while continuing to employ casual employees and to subcontract-out regular jobs. Our Union opposed the plan because it violates blatantly the existing collective bargaining agreement which specifically provides that in all cases involving ... lay-off, the Company shall first terminate extra workers, casuals, contractuals, learners and probationary employees ... and that (t)he Company shall not contract out the present production work assigned to rank-and-file employees within the bargaining unit (since) it will result in lay-off of rank-and-file employees of the Company.

January 24, 1997. As management was bent on the lay-off, we filed a Notice of Strike with the National Capital Region Office of the NCMB.

February 1, 1997. At a conciliation conference called by the NCMB-NCR, Westbay manifested that instead of a lay-off it will just allow or implement a voluntary resignation program. For the sake of industrial peace, we agreed to the voluntary resignation program.

May 5, 1997. Much to our surprise, and in clear violation of its February 1, 1997 commitment, Westbay forcibly laid-off 104 Union members.

May 6, 1997. We immediately sought the assistance of the NCMB on this development. But resort to the NCMB was futile as Westbay was firm in continuing the mass lay-off and the NCMB seemed inutile in enforcing Westbay's previous commitment. We consequently conducted a peaceful protest strike in front of Westbay's premises.

May 8, 1997. Westbay filed a Petition for Injunction before the NLRC. It falsely alleged that we have obstructed the free ingress to and egress from its premises.

May 16, 1997. We struck after having completed all the legal requirements for a valid strike. Said strike ended on the same day because, before the NCMB, we and Westbay agreed in writing that the laid off employees would be reinstated on May 19, 1997.

May 19, 1997. Again, Westbay reneged on its commitment. Despite pleas from us, it refused to allow the laid off employees from returning to work.

May 20, 1997. Because of Westbay's gross violation of the May 16, 1997 agreement and the NCMB's inaction on Westbay's duplicity, we redeclared a strike.

May 21, 1997. At the NLRC hearing of Westbay's petition for injunction, we and Westbay agreed that with our commitment to respect free ingress to and egress from Westbay' premises, the NLRC proceedings for the issuance of an injunction and a temporary restraining order should be deemed suspended.

May 22, 1997. Westbay bribed several union members to penetrate the union lines to the lowest level and convince us to abandon the strike.

May 26, 1997. Westbay filed with the National Capital Region Office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-NCR) a notice of closure. The closure was explicitly due to our May 16, 1997 strike (an admission that it was a lock-out pursued without complying with the legal requirements therefore) and was to be effective immediately (contrary to the law which provides for a thirty day prior notice).

May 1997. Westbay moved to reopen Coastal Bay, a sister company that ceased operating in 1996, in an effort to establish a run-away shop.

May 28, 1997. Despite the agreement of May 21, 1997 and Westbay's notice of closure, the NLRC issued a temporary restraining order.

May 30, 1997. At an NCMB conciliation hearing, Westbay's counsel, Atty. Augusto Sanchez, announced that Westbay was willing to reopen its plant provided we will agree to the lay-off of 104 employees and the dismissal of six of our leaders.

June 6, 1997. Westbay's other counsel, Atty. Efren Mercado, managers, and supervisors, accompanied by about thirty policemen brandishing heavy weapons and the NLRC temporary restraining order, forcibly broke through the picketline and spirited out a container van containing finished goods, cut goods, and production equipment. In the process, more than ten strikers suffered cuts and contusions.

June 17, 1997. Again, Westbay's managers and supervisors, escorted by about thirty policemen brandishing heavy weapons and the NLRC temporary restraining order, broke through the picketline to take out two vans of cut goods and textile. In the process the police arrested twelve and hurt scores of us.

Despite the foregoing, we remain steadfast in defending our picket line, our only defense against Westbay's schemes of contractualization and subcontracting, and union busting.

We would appreciate if you could extend to us any assistance and we would appreciate very much if you could be with us even for a few hours of our picketline.

Our members would appreciate it if you could at least send letters of solidarity with the following furnished copies thereof:

Dr. Kenneth Wang HK address to be provided later.

In the meantime, please use Westbay's address at Fax: (852) 2480-4252 E-mail:

Chuck M. Mamiye
HK address to be provided later
In the meantime, please use Westbay's address above

C.W. Leung
HK address to be provided later
In the meantime, please use Westbay's address above

Atty. Augusto Sanchez & Atty. Efren Mercado
4F Prudentiallife Bldg., 843 Pasay Road, Makati
Fax: (63-2) 812-0891

DOLE Bldg., Intramuros, Manila
Fax: 527-3453 & 527-3424

PPSTA Bldg., Banawe St. cor Quezon Ave., Quezon City

Maraming salamat po!


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