Women Workers Protest Inhumane Rules, Denial of Benefits in Denture Factory

March 7, 2010

A women-dominated union in a German-owned denture factory is decrying the company’s inhumane rules and regulations which penalizes “use of obscene languange,” “loitering” and “concealment of contagious disease” via dismissal of workers.

Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Zahnfabrik Philippines Inc (SMZPI), affiliated to KMU’s Alliance of Nationalist and Genuine Labor Organizations (ANGLO-KMU) said Zahnfabrik Phils. in Taguig is using the stiff company rules to intimidate workers against asserting their bargaining rights. The new rules were issued at the height of the union’s fight for the implementation of their benefits as stated in their collective bargaining agreement.

“We feel that we are being choked by the company rules. Under the revised Company Rules and Regulations, we risk being dismissed if we utter ‘obscene language’ or if we are concealing contagious disease.’ Even ‘unauthorized possession of alcoholic beverages’ is deemed punishable via dismissal,” said Maria Lourdes Rogelio, president of SMZPI.

“The company rules do not even cite provisions from the Labor Code as justification for its brutal penalties. Worse, it is the company’s prerogative to tell if the enumerated offenses were really committed by workers, since offenses are vaguely stated.”

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“But we all know that the draconian rules are part of Zahnfabrik’s Phils. cheap intimidation tactic to suppress our clamor for respect of labor rights and for the granting of our benefits,” she added.

In December 2007, the union filed a letter of intent to negotiate for the two-year extension of their collective bargaining agreement. Since then, the company has dodged the extension of the existing CBA, which warrants holiday pay, medical benefits, among others.

“Zahnfabrik refuses to extend the CBA because it wants to cut workers’ benefits in the name of amassing bigger company profits. Along with the issuance of more inhumane company rules, it has also imposed a stricter quota which warrants forced resignation of workers upon non-compliance,” Rogelio said.

“All these tactics are meant to scare us from pursuing our legitimate fight for our labor rights. We want to prove the company wrong: We are actually prompted by such inhumane rules to elevate our fight for job security and implementation of benefits into higher forms of collective action,” she added.

SMZPI has already filed a complaint on gross violations of the CBA provisions before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

“We will pressure the NLRC and the Department of Labor to act on our case immediately. We will expose this injustice to the world and coordinate with workers of Zahnfabrik in other countries,” she added.

SMZPI will take part in the rally commemorating the centennial of the International Women’s Day on Monday.

Zahnfabrik Philippines Inc. is subsidiary of German-based Zahnfabrik Bad Nauheim GmbH & Co. Luxor KG, which is known for transfer-pricing schemes to make it appear that subsidiaries are not earning much.

Maria Lourdes Rogelio, president of SMZPI

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