The DOLE OSEC Conference Room rang with the solid voices of nine (9) newly-elected Philippine Cement Workers’ Council (PCWC) officials as they took their oath of office before Secretary Baldoz on 04 March 2015.
Registered with the Bureau of Labor Relations in August 2001, the PCWC as a federation seeks to “promote the dignity, general welfare, security and well-being of cement workers, and foster cement workers’ unity and cement industry unionism.”
PCWC is an affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.
In a dialogue with the Secretary following the oath-taking ceremony, the PCWC expressed concern on the integration of two (2) of the biggest cement companies – Holcim Philippines, Inc. and Lafarge Republic, Inc. – both in the local and global scale, which is foreseen to result in the displacement of many workers in the industry.
In the course of events, the PCWC wanted an assurance that conditions of workers in parts of the business being sold off are protected, and that all collective agreements in power are honored by the new formed company.
“To ensure that workers’ rights are protected, we thought of forming a national union covering all plants with just one CBA”, PCWC President Macario ‘Boyax’ Noble, Jr. opined.
Secretary Baldoz stressed the significance of getting first the details of the integration and emphasized that what is important is that workers’ rights are not violated in the process.
“Tututukan [ng DOLE] yung [Holcim-Lafarge] integration kasi dapat prepared tayo in this kind of restructuring and integration in the global labor market dahil may mga bagong trabahong mawawala at malilikha”, Baldoz said.
Secretary Baldoz agreed with the thrust of the PCWC in pursuing a “one industry, one union” approach and opened the creation of an Industry Tripartite Council (ITC) in the cement industry where all industry stakeholders are given a venue for social dialogue and active consultation.
But before going full throttle on any undertaking, Secretary Baldoz said that the Department shall first meet with the management representatives of Holcim and Lafarge in order to get more details on the integration process.
Based from initial information, Holcim which was borne out of a merger of three (3) established cement companies in 2000 has an estimated workforce of 1,800, while Lafarge which entered the Philippine cement market in 1998 has approximately 1,000.