Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Since their dismissal last summer workers at the Triumph garment factories in the Philippines have kept up the struggle for decent severance pay against the company. Last May 4 company goons and government thugs came to violently evict them from their protest camp and picket lines. During this time of what is an actual blockade of the factories the workers have prevented Triumph from removing moveable items from the buildings. They have also set up their own production in the protest camp with donated sewing machines and have recently applied to the Department of Labour and Employment for support in starting a producers' co-op for those dismissed. Here's the story of the latest attack by the bosses and the state and the appeal for solidarity with these workers from the Clean Clothes Campaign.
Filipino Triumph Workers Violently Evicted from Picket

On the 4th of May, the Triumph workers in the Philippines were violently evicted from their picket line. More than 200 security forces invaded the former factory grounds, removed the protesting workers and destroyed their action camp. Take action now to support these workers!

The workers have set up another picket line further down the street, continuing their protest against their dismissals since summer 2009.

Write to the Philippine authorities today to call on them to immediately stop further harassment!

Take action now! >> Background >>

An eyewitness account by: Isabelita dela Cruz
May 8, 2010
Dear everyone,

From the workers of Triumph Philippines our solidarity greetings to all.

I would like to make a quick update on the workers situation in the picket line. To date there is an intense operation to totally smashed down our makeshift tent and give up our call for humane livelihood and social justice, by the combined forces of the Taguig PNP, Barangay Security Forces of Western Bicutan, FTI maintenance personnel, Nationwide Security Agency, this is by the directive of Pasig Regional Trial Court sheriff Mario Silvestre and hands of Triumph management.

On May 4, 2010 at around 8 in the morning a total of more than 200 dispersal team arrived in the picket and in a matter of 10 minutes they totally wrecked and smashed down our temporary shelter and livelihood in the picket, they leave us nothing but a horrible and painful experience and casualties. They treated us like criminals and dragged us outside from our Union office, the union files, equipment, and personal things of the workers inside the office was thrown out and put everything like a garbage in a corner of the street. They put an iron sheet barricades guarded by about 50 security guards of Nationwide Security Agency hired by Triumph under the supervision of FTI administration and their President Atty. Ma. Theresa Pinto. About (13) thirteen workers was trapped inside this barricades ( eight (8) at the back entrance of Triumph building were our office is located and five (5) union members in front entrance a more than 1 kilometer Triumph building. Outside the barricades of the front and back entrance of the building other union members are crying but with determination to put up again another makeshift tent at the height of 37 degrees sunlight, where in security forces trying to put all effort to prevent us from erecting another makeshift tent. But with the determination and anger of the workers and our supporters they succeeded to put another shelter of the workers. In front entrance where our livelihood was put up, five sewing machines, scrap materials and textile that we are using in rags , doormats and summer collection making was also thrown out at the corner of the street inside the iron sheet barricades.

Several numbers of vehicle heavily tinted and one anonymous and suspicious man riding in a motorcycle was roving around the vicinity of our picket outside. According to the workers who managed to notice the incident, that this man looks like referring a picture from his cell phone while looking at them. The husband of one union member manages to come closer to this man and notice a gun at his waist but immediately escape from the scene.

May 6 at around 11 in the morning while we are holding consultation with the workers in the makeshift tent 20 policemen of Taguig PNP arrived in the picket they handed their shield to 50 security guards and put a barricade at the street to prevent us from coming closer at the back entrance, and then a shuttle bus was fast approaching and manages to quickly enter the back entrance of the building. The bus loaded with barangay security personnel, Triumph HR personnel, the General Manager of FTI Leasing Department along with the janitorial personnel hired by Triumph and other managerial employees enter the building. After three hours of packing in several big boxes and about hundreds of folders, they loaded it to the bus and escorted by PNP police leave the building, about (15) fifteen minutes the bus went back along with three vehicle escorted by PNP enter again and loaded all the packed materials and equipment and leave the area.

We were shocked by the fast movement of the traitors, I manage to talk with the policemen as well as the General Manager of FTI and according to him they will pull out workers personal belongings, so that they can move freely to eject the remaining movable equipment inside the Triumph building. He said that these personal belongings are the hindrance why they cannot pull out the equipment for they are afraid that if the workers claim the lost of their personal things, they will be accountable for that.
May 7, again we notice that about 30 security guards was deployed in front and back entrance in addition to the already assigned in the area a total of about 50 security and when we check out there were several numbers of policemen roving, so I decided to get the megaphone ride in motorcycle and roved around the FTI while shouting a protest statement. It did help because they were intimidated in their intention to assembly and enter again in the building, and afterwards they leave the area.
At around 10 in the morning on the same day representative from the Department of Labor and Employment came to check if the report of violent dispersal is true and look at the extent of casualties. According to him he will immediately report it to his boss and will recommend and request for a dialogue with Triumph management. With the effort of Congressman Rafael Mariano Under Secretary of DOLE Usec Linda Baldoz set for a meeting with Triumph management on May 13, 2010.

Until now we are still under threat to be dispersed violently, because FTI administration is threatening to forcefully eject remaining equipment, machines and other movable materials inside the former Triumph building. We are leaving now in a more miserable and desperate situation in the picket line. Union files and documents are scattered in the corner of the street.

We appeal to everyone to support us in our struggle, to find justice and condemned the perpetrators on the casualties of the violent dispersal in our picket. We are also in need for financial support in looking for a place and center where we can pick and arrange the pieces of our damaged equipment and files, specially the machines that we are using for our livelihood.

Again on behalf of the Triumph workers in the Philippines and our union thank you so much.
Long Live International Solidarity.

For the workers of Triumph,
Isabelita dela Cruz
Union President
Write to the Philippine authorities today!
Please go to this link to send the following letter to Philippino authorities.
Secretary Marianito Roque
Email: roquemd@dole.gov.ph This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Food Terminal Incorporated
Vice-Chairman/President : Maria Theresa A. Pinto
Email: taspinto33@yahoo.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mayor Freddie Tinga
Email: FT@taguig.gov.ph This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

cc.Triumph International

Dear Madam/Sir,

I write to you today to express my serious concerns about the unresolved labour dispute between Triumph International and the former Triumph workers in Taguig City, who were dismissed in July 2009.

I learned that on May 4, 2010, more than 200 armed security forces entered the former Triumph International factory to evict the Triumph workers who have been protesting against their dismissals since summer 2009. They harassed and injured workers, destroyed picket tents and threw out office material. Moreover, I understand that in addition to the restraining order, the Food Terminal demands 7 million pesos for exemplary damages (approximately 117.000 euros), which includes 1.5 million pesos per month from January on.

The Triumph workers have been protesting for more than 10 months against Triumph International’s failure to follow international labour standards on union rights and massive retrenchments. An OECD complaint is currently taken up by the Swiss National Contact Point for the OECD guidelines. I also learned that meetings chaired by the National Mediation Conciliatory Board have not resulted in any favourable outcome due to Triumph’s refusal to credibly negotiate with the union. The Triumph workers are organised in the Bagong Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Triumph International union (BPMTI).

I call upon you to support the Triumph workers' struggle for a just compensation for their years in service of the multinational, and for respect of their workers' and union rights. In particular I urge you to:

•stop further harassment of the peacefully protesting workers,
•refrain from implementing the temporary restraining order issued on April 23,
•provide support to the former Triumph workers to establish a workers' cooperation at the former Triumph factory.

Yours sincerely,

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