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KMU slams TRO vs. hardware workers’ strike

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the temporary restraining order issued by a Parañaque Regional Trial Court against a strike of hardware workers, claiming that the court is unduly interfering in a labor dispute.

Yesterday, the Parañaque RTC Branch 257 under Judge Rolando G. How issued a TRO against the strike of workers of Co Ban Kiat Hardware, Inc., supplier of Ace Hardware and various construction companies, saying that the strike affects three other businesses within the compound where the hardware is located.

The TRO resulted in the deployment of more than 70 policemen and Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) and a firetruck in the strike area.

“By ordering the clearing of the ingress into and the egress from the company’s premises, the TRO directly undermines the workers’ legitimate strike. It is a violation of the workers’ right to strike and an interference into a labor dispute,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“The RTC fell for Johnny Cobankiat’s excuse for trying to weaken the strike. It is a license for the violent repression of workers who have been denied many of their rights,” he added.

KMU claimed that shortly after the police pushed the workers away from the company’s gate, trucks of Co Ban Kiat Hardware, Inc. immediately went out and in of the company, manned by scabs.

“A tree is known by its fruits, and the TRO’s result is the undermining of the workers’ strike. The RTC may try to conceal the fact that it is interfering in a labor dispute, but it cannot hide the clear effects of its decision,” Labog said.

The hardware workers went on strike last May 23 after the company’s management violated an agreement with the workers’ union which the workers won through an earlier strike.

Workers claim that the agreement, which reinstates workers who were previously retrenched and recognizes the workers’ union, was violated when the company retrenched workers in an attempt to weaken the union.

“Instead of heeding the workers’ just demands, Johnny Cobankiat is using the courts to file charges upon charges against the workers that he has exploited for years. Workers are aghast that the courts are willingly serving as Cobankiat’s accomplices in trampling on their rights,” Labog said.

Before forming a union, the hardware workers were kept in contractual status for years, were receiving the minimum wage, and were subjected to various abuses from supervisors – such as being made to stand under the sun for long hours.

Reference Person: 
Elmer "Bong" Labog, KMU chairperson
Contact information: 
0908-1636597

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