By: Roy Bersales
The South Korean-owned Faremo International Inc. has decided to close down due to bankruptcy, according to the records at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
But the Faremo’s labor union strongly believed that the management’s decision was for the sole purpose of “killing the union,” said Dennis Sequena, organizer for Partido Manggagawa (PM), who has been assisting the Faremo workers’ union.
Sequena argued that “Faremo’s closure is tainted with bad faith [because] few weeks ago, a truckload of machines was taken out of the factory. Then the list of union members including their pictures were sent to other garments factories within the Cavite EPZA in a blatant blacklisting scheme to deny unionists alternate jobs. Finally, [the] management bypassed the union and talked directly to workers to cajole them into resigning.”
Faremo International Inc. that is owned by South Korean businessmen is the biggest garment factory that was legally allowed by the Philippine government to put up a business inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZA).
Faremo is the supplier of garments to the big names in the ready to wear industry in the international market.
It is a subsidiary of another South Korean-owned textile multinational company Hansoll.
As the Faremo management decided to close down, the 1,000 workers would end up jobless, two months before Christmas.
According to Jessel Autida, Faremo labor union’s president, the closure was made after the union filed union busting complaint before the DOLE.
Autida argued that the management of Faremo does not want the workers to have a union when in fact Philippine Labor Code allows it.
The union at Faremo was formed last year so that the 1,000 workers would have a collective voice to demand to the Faremo management raise their daily income, to receive benefits guaranteed by the Labor Code, ensure good working conditions, and put an end to exploitation like verbal abuse.
The workers at Faremo are receiving P356.50 per day, which is below the minimum wage.
Autida said the “We do not believe Faremo’s claim that it lacks orders from its customers and so has to shut down. We suspect that Faremo will reopen using workers who are contractual and without a labor union.”
He said that when Faremo’s management first brought up to the workers its decision to shut down temporarily and subsequently lay-off the company’s workers, the union opposed and proposed to rotate the working schedule of the employees to prevent lay-off, but the management rejected the idea.
Last Monday, there was a mediation meeting between the management and workers’ union called by the DOLE, but nothing happened except that the representative of the Faremo only receive the demands of the union.