Terminated Holcim workers disappointed with Duterte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 March) — Some terminated workers of the cement-manufacturing firm, LafargeHolcim, expressed disappointment over the failure of the Duterte administration to fulfill its promise to regularize contractual workers after they were terminated last March 4, 2019.

Around 80 contractual workers of the Holcim held a picket outside the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) at the AMQ Building, Dacudao Avenue in Agdao here on the day of their mediation meeting with the company executives on Thursday.

The 28-year old Joselito Timbancaya, who hails from Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, questioned the circumstances behind the termination of their contracts with the company even as President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order on May 1, 2018, against “contractualization.”

“Nipagawas og order nga wala na unta ang kontrata. Dili basta matanggal kung wala kay violation. Ngano wala man gisubay nila? (An order was issued that prohibits contractualization. You cannot be terminated unless you have a violation. Why was this not enforced?),” he said.

What worried Timbancaya, a “roto” packer at Holcim for 10 years, is that he could no longer provide support to his family back home and send his young nephew to school.

“Ang hangyo nako sa iyaha na unta iyang walaon ang contractualization sa Davao nga iya mismong teritoryo. Gitapakan sa taga-DOLE og sa mismong management sa dako nga kumpanya iyang saad para sa amoa nga nagasuporta niya (Our appeal to the President is that he will totally eliminate the contractualization in the Davao City, in his own territory. DOLE and even the management of a big company do not enforce what he promised to us who supported him),” he said.

George Urias, 46, spent more than half of his life with Holcim as a packer and manual loader.

According to him, the company has offered P93,000 in compensation but he declined it because he was hopeful that he would get his job back but as a regular employee.

Urias’ wife is also unemployed. The couple has three children, two of them married while one is in daycare.

Romeo Magdasal, 54, has been working with Holcim since 1987 but he had never been hired as a regular worker.

His wife runs a small sari-sari store in Barangay Ilang, Tibungco.

He said the company has offered him P95,000 but he thought it was not commensurate after working with Holcim for 32 years.

“Tagaan ko nila partial nga P29,000. Ang remaining P66,000 ihatag after mahuman ang kaso. Unya wala mopirma basin ila ko biklon kay nakapairma nako (They would give me P29,000 as a partial payment. The remaining P66,000 will be given after the case is settled. But I did not sign because they could rip me off if I sign it),” he said.

But Magdasal said he might just decide to settle if Holcim offers him bigger compensation because he is already aging. (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)