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Respect our Right to Work and Human Dignity: An Urgent Appeal of the Advan Shoe Workers to Stop the Forced Leave and No Work Policy

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Respect our Right to Work and Human Dignity.
An Urgent Appeal of the Advan Shoe Workers to Stop the Forced Leave and No work Policy!
by Defend Job Philippines
We, the workers of Advan Shoes under the banner of our union Bleustar Workers Labor Union denounce the forced leave and no work policy of the Bleustar Manufacturing Corporation management being implemented to all workers in the production.  We also denounce the management’s claim that they are deeply indebted and has no capacity to buy raw materials, pay for electricity bills and to have full operations in the production. As a result, two hundred ten (210) workers are jobless and suffering in dire situation.
We believe that this policy is unfounded and unjust. The Bleustar Management continue to use this policy to cut operational expenses especially our salaries and wages while ensuring enough production of goods during the days that we are allowed to work:
  • Since October 2012 up to February 2013, we have worked for only sixty nine (69) days in the rainboots department and forty seven (47) days in the Shoes Department or one and half (1 and ½) to  two (2) months.  But even we are under forced leave during this period, we still have an estimated output of 79 950 pairs of rainboots and shoes amounting to P20.13 million.  And from January 2012 to February 2013, we produced an estimated  407 550 pairs of rainboots and shoes amounting to P95.7 million from January 2012 to February 2013.
  • We understand that on August 6- September 2012, the factory has been closed because of the floodwaters inside the company.  Yet the factory can still deliver finished goods to our customers.  This is because, starting from January 9 to August 5, 2012, we are put on overtime work producing an additional 50% production output everyday or an estimated 42 000 pairs of rainboots and 67 200 in the shoes department in seven months.  The overtime output produced can supply for the demand of the customers for three and half (3 & ½) months.  Also, in the rainboots department which has the biggest demand in the market and employs only 12 workers continue the production since October up to present.
  • It is also not true that there is no demand in the market for rainboots and shoes. In a survey that we conducted on January 2013 in 6 major malls and departments stores, all of the merchandisers that we interviewed said that Advan Shoes and Rainboots are in demand.
We also believe that this is a blatant violation on the part of the management to the Collective Bargaining Agreement especially in the provisions for job security and right to unionize.  The management is weakening the resolve of our union to stop us in demanding for new provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation this coming July.  We are also threatened of the possibility that the factory in Muntinlupa will be closed and the production will be transferred in other places.
As enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.  Thus, we call on the Philippine Government to:
  • Act that the forced leave and no work policy of the Bleustar Management be stopped and that the production be normalized.
  • Act that the workers be paid with backwages during the time that we are not allowed to work.
  • Act that we and our families be provided with unemployment pay and immediate financial assistance.
We also call to our fellow workers, women and human rights advocates for solidarity such as having discussions/dialouges between your group and the workers of ADVAN, sharing of our common problems and aspirations, visiting our factory, union office and workers community, sending letters to the media and concerned government agencies, to expose our condition and express your solidarity and sending of financial or material support to the workers and our families.
Send this to:
Mr. Benigno Simeon Aquino III 
H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III President of the Republic Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel Manila Philippines Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80 Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968 E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph
Hon. Rosalinda Baldoz
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Building, Muralla Wing cor. General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila, 1002, Philippines
DOLE Secretary
Email: secrdb@dole.gov.ph        
Mr. Jimmy Ong
President, Bleustar Manufacturing  and Marketing Corporation
Address: W-2 RMT Industrial Complex Tunasan, MUNTINGLUPA 1770, MNL
Tel: 28613026 Fax: 28619009
Background (1990-2011):
The company started its operation on May 20, 1990.  It is owned and managed by Mr. Jimmy Ong, a Filipino-Chinese businesman.  Bluestar Marketing and Manufacturing Corporation is the maker of Advan casual shoes and rainboots brand.  It distributes its products locally.  Among the biggest buyers of its products are SM and Robinsons Shooping Mall.  The workers estimated the production output of rainboots at 2,700 pairs per day and the shoes at 5,400 pairs/day.
Most number of the workers in the company are women.  In the previous years, women workers comprise 85% of the total workforce. They were mostly assigned as sewers and cutters.  In the past  19 years  of operation of the company, the major problems faced by the workers are union busting, sexual harassment of women workers, unkind treatment, low wages, forced leaves,  and other kinds of trade union repression.
Union Busting History
 
Since the operation of the company started, three attempts to form a union failed.  The first two attempts failed because the union leaders were corrupted by the management, thereby destroying the union. The third attempt was in 2006. Company management reacted by persecuting all known union leaders, giving them very difficult assignments until they were forced to resign.  The remaining workers were warned that the factory will close-down if they continue to form a union.
Prodded by years of sexual harassment by the owner himself, the workers attempted for the fourth time to form a union and was successful.  The Bleustar Workers Labor Union (BWLU) was registered under the Bureau of Labour Relations (BLR) of the Deparment of Labour and Employment (DOLE) on October 2, 2007. The management attempted to bust the union by petitioning for the cancellation of the union’s recognition, charging its President and Secretary with Perjury, but failed.
The union filed for a Petition for Certification Election (CE) which was granted and scheduled on July 25, 2008.  But on July 12 2008, 13 days before the CE, the Management attempted a “runaway shop”. This was thwarted by the union by barricading the plant gates and laying on the ground. Unionists involved in this incident were retrenched a day before the CE, and their votes were segregated with the approval of DOLE, rendering the CE a failure. On August 5 2008, the union staged a strike on the basis of union busting and unfair labor practice.
The strike ended on September 22 2008, with a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the Management and the union, in the presence of DOLE Commissioner Ortiguerra, settling the issue of union recognition to wit: “(3) Union recognition to represent all rank and file employees except CBA negotiation which shall start in March 2009 to be manifested before the Med-Arbiter DOLE-NCR”.Furthermore, the MOA was rendered final and executory by the NLRC with the release of its Notice of Resolution (September 30, 2008) and Entry of Judgement (January 5, 2009).

One thought on “Respect our Right to Work and Human Dignity: An Urgent Appeal of the Advan Shoe Workers to Stop the Forced Leave and No Work Policy

  1. I am LIZA MALIMATA,a worker of BLEUSTAR[ADVAN SHOES]for 22yrs and serve as the auditor of BLEUSTAR WORKERS LABOR UNION.We,all workers are suffering already from hunger because of this inhumane and unjust action by the management.In behalf of my co-workers,i sincerely thank you for your support on our struggle .

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