On June 2, various groups and sectors joined a picket protest in Subic, Zambales led by Kilos Na Manggagawa. The protest was in condemnation of the inhumane working conditions in the Hanjin Heavy Industries, Corp. (HHIC), a Korean shipyard company that has already filed for bankruptcy in Korea but maintains operation in the Philippines because of available pool of cheap labor.
With 40,000 workers employed under 18 different subcontractors, HHIC does not directly hire anyone.
From 2006 to May 2018, at least 60 workers have died working in the shipyard due to the unsafe working environment. On May 12 this year, eight workers fell from a scaffolding, leaving two dead and two others in comatose. Workers also have tasks that require them to work under the glare of the sun the whole day, and some work with asbestos, a chemical that has already been banned. Despite all these violations of occupational safety and health standards, no has been held liable.
With a heavily guarded gate and a strict schedule – the workers were being shuttled back and forth by the company — the picket protest held yesterday is seen as a breakthrough, and just the first of many protests expected to be conducted in HHIC.
Video and editing by RUTH LUMIBAO
Produced by BULATLAT MULTIMEDIA