The Philippines labor group, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), has described a decision by Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) to cut 640 jobs from its Marikina plant as ‘reeking with treachery’, according to a InterAksyon.com (TV 5) story.
In a press note, the BMP said PMFTC had announced the job cuts barely a month after concluding a collective bargaining agreement with the local union.
And while the company had cited as a reason for the cuts the fall in its market share following the introduction of the so-called sin tax law, it was still the market leader.
BMP’s Gie Relova described the job cuts as heartless because they were made after the employees had returned from holiday. He said that workers had been led to believe that they would be getting a ‘well-deserved’ increase in benefits.
Relova said the company was not bankrupt and was nowhere close to suffering financial losses based on its submitted financial statements to the Security and Exchange Commission during the past three years.
He alleged that the cuts were a form of union-busting, citing the fact that 580 of the 640 employees targeted were union members.
“Riley [president Paul Riley] will not rest until the labor union is fully busted and its [PMFTC’s] workforce entirely made up of contractual employees,” said Relova.
The labor leader took a swipe also at the government, particularly at Senator Franklin Drilon and ‘chief sin tax promoter’, finance secretary Cesar Purisima, who was said to have repeatedly claimed during the deliberations on the Sin Tax Reform Law that increased excise tax collections would not lead to job losses.
He added that: “in their insatiable quest for profit and taxes, both the state and corporations have arranged the workers to be the last to benefit from its own labor, yet the first to be discarded when they fall short of their revenue targets.”