13 October 2018
As management refuses to recognize right to security of tenure
More workers join hunger strike at high end condo
The hunger strike initiated by four striking employees of Pacific Plaza Towers (PPT) which commenced last October 5 has increased to sixteen as of press time, as the board of directors and building management continue to deny the workers their legitimate demands of regularization and reinstatement.
More than two months has passed since employees of the high-end condominium at the Bonifacio Global City went on strike and today on their ninth day on indefinite hunger strike after its management denied the right of the workers to security of tenure and fired seventeen of them, including two union officers.
Since the hunger strike begun, their non-violent protest has gained public sympathy after pictures and statements of support were posted in social media.
“We are elated that people we have never met in our lives have visited us in our picketline bringing whatever thay can afford even with the price hikes. Their sympathy is what drives us to continue in the struggle”, says Judy Pastorpede, spokesperson of PUNYAL or Pacific Plaza United Action of Labor-SUPER Federation.
Among those who have expressed sympathy and regularly visited their picketline besides their families are college students from different universities including Ateneo and UP Diliman and groups such as Partido Lakas ng Masa and Sanlakas.
Supporters of the hunger strike shall also hold a solidarity hunger strike from Sunday evening to Monday evening.
However the strikers claim that they draw more inspiration from fellow wage-earners from the surrounding high-rise buildings who drop by their picketline regularly to inquire about their condition and the status of their strike. They say that it is also heartwarming to read short messages from workers from all over the country who have grown sympathetic to their cause via social media.
Pastorpede says that despite their management’s hardline stance to their demands for regularization and reinstatement, “Wasto at makatwiran ang aming pinaglalaban. Kakampi naman ang batas, kakampi namin ang milyong kapwa naming manggagawa na dumaranas ng kaparehong kalupitan sa ilalim ng sistemang kapitalismo”.
He adds, “paano kami susuko kung dito nakasalalay ang kakainin at kinabukasan ng aming mga anak? Hindi namin maaring isuko ang aming karapatan kilalanin bilang regular na empleyado dahil kung hindi, wala na kaming dignidad na ipagmamalaki sa aming mga anak”.
For militant labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, the PPT hunger strike should have been unnecessary if only the supposed constitutionally guranteed rights of workers to Security of Tenure were not only recognized but also enforced as promised by the Duterte administration.
“It is a travesty of justice that those whose rights have been consistent denied and are those who have to undergo the painful realization of hunger as well as the fact that laws are easily circumvented to fulfill the interests of the filthy rich,” they said in a statement.
Beside Pastorpede, the others who joined the hunger strike include Lino Revilla, Jovanny Nalua, Edgar Virtuzado, Cris Rafales, Allan Cabigonas, Retanley Inocencio, Nino Galjilla, Abdul Tambungalan, Victor Vallega, Ali Glodeviza, Jerome Maderazo, Herald Apino, Enrico Lipit, Diones Chaves and Sammy Miranda.
The union believes that there are many decent and sympathetic residents because they are confident that have served them well but they claim that the resolution to the standoff will require the termination of Feliza Ramos, Roland Rojo and PPT general manager Minda Barlis.
They allege that the three are rabid violators of labor rights and have blocked initiatives for an early resolution to the labor dispute.###