Members of the union of the Bleustar Marketing and Manufacturing Corporation (BMMC) and GABRIELA staged a picket in front of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to demand for an investigation of sexual harassment cases allegedly committed by the company’s owner Jimmy Ong against women workers.
Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA secretary general said that the sexual harassment cases at BMMC “should be a cause for alarm for the Department of Labor”. She said that the BMMC has no Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CoDI) to undertake complaints of sexual harassment.
Republic Act 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law of 1995 mandates the formation of CoDI in every workplace. The law also mandates employers to promulgate appropriate rules and regulations, in consultation with and jointly approved by the employees, which should include, among others, guidelines on proper decorum in the workplace.
De Jesus retorted, “Apparently, very few workplaces have actually set up such a committee and we would like to know what the DoLe has done about this gross violation.”
The protesters are seeking a dialogue with Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.
“We seek the assurance of the DoLE that they would perform their duties and responsibilities in ensuring the protection of women workers against exploitation and abuse as mandated by the law,” said de Jesus.
The BMMC workers have been on strike since the management dismissed union leaders and members. The workers alleged that management also manipulated the certification election conducted when they sought recognition of the union.
Gloria Noque, a worker of BMMC, said they formed the union to address the sexual harassment being done to them. “But the management chose to violate our union rights,” she said. Noque said they first sought the help of the Public Attorney’s Office of Muntinlupa City regarding their complaint of sexual harassment in 2005 and they were advised to form a union before filing a complaint.
De Jesus urged the DoLE to work double time in resolving this case. She also said that the DoLE should check factories and offices regarding compliance with the requirement to set up CoDI in every workplace. Bulatlat