our legal struggle is still Unjustice
THE NEWLY DISMMISAL OF FOUR LEADERS OF TMPCWA:
On August 11, 2010, The union filed a case of unfair labor practice and illegal dismissal against Toyota management at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB). The first step of filing is the Preventive Mediation, the objective of which is to ask the company to reconsider its dismissal against the four members of the union.
The first hearing was scheduled on Aug 15, 2010. The union questioned the legality of the dismissal because the company did not give proper procedural due process. It argued that the dismissed members did not violate any company rules and regulations of Toyota or any of the labor laws as indicated in the complaint of Toyota management.
The management on the other hand insisted that the dismissal was valid. The conciliator asked both sides to think of possible options for amicable settlement. In good faith and with the intention of resolving the problem immediately, the union then proposed to accept at least 30 days of suspension or for Toyota to reduce the case filed against the workers instead of outright dismissal.
The management did not offer any option. Atty. Ria Viesca, Toyota management counsel, merely said she will relay the union proposal to the
On August 23, 2010. The management legal counsel reported that the company did not agree on the union’s proposal. They held the same argument that the dismissal was valid and reinstatement is not a possible option. Again, in good faith, the union asked the company to reconsider the dismissal and appealed for atleast suspension. The union explained to the NCMB that the union is showing good faith in accepting the suspension even if they believe that the dismissed members did not violate any company rules and regulations nor any provision in the labor laws.
The union further explained that the four members have served the company for many years, ranging from 15-20 years, until their dismissal. In their entire years of service, the workers did not commit any similar incident. Again, the company’s legal counsel said she will inform the management on the new proposal of the union.
On September 1, 2010. the management lawyers informed the NCMB that the management has again declined the proposal of the union with the same reason that the dismissal was valid and legal. Atty. Viesca even said that she herself lobbied to the Toyota management to accept a 60-day suspension.
The union stressed that this is against their will, but in good faith, they are willing to accept it (SUSPENSION) so that the dismissal issue will be resolved. The union also emphasized to the Conciliator that they came to NCMB with the expectation that it will investigate the company’s anomalous process of investigation, trial and dismissal of workers.
The conciliator carried this proposal and informed the legal counsel of Toyota to reiterate the union appeal and reconsider the dismissal. The legal counsel said the discussion will be transmitted to the Toyota management.The next hearing is set on September 8, 2010 at 11:00am.but it wiil be re-scheduled upon the request of the complainant on September 17, 2010.
On September 17, 2010. The Union TMPCWA requested to the Concilliator that the process of investigation be made, because the management did not compell nor serious on the union proposal.
Note that on the next hearing, if the management still refuses to do so, the TMPCWA will go ahead with its filing of a case of Illegal Dismissal at the NLRC. A Notice of Strike will also be filed at the NCMB on grounds of Unfair Labor Practice and Union-busting. We would also ask the Toyota management and the Conciliator to explain the proceedings of the investigation conducted by Toyota before the NCMB.
On November 4, 2010. The union/complainant filed a case to the National Concilliation and Mediation Board (NLRC R-IVA) case no.11-01989-10L with the complaint of Unfair Labor Practices,Illegal Dismissal,Illegal Suspension,Reisntatement with full back wages including attorney’s fee,Exemplary damages and nominal damages.
On November 25, 2010. The first mandatory hearing was set, the union complainants proposal and appeal is to reinstate the (4) because they illegally dismissed by Toyota, but the management counsel reiterating that according to Toyota management the dismissal was valid and legal. Note that no second mandatory hearing was set and move on to the passing of Positon Paper.
On December 28,2010. The complainat filed its position paper reiterating that the complainant did not violate company rules,nor threat to the company interest. Inimically the management and supervisor Echano orchestrated the case.
On February 3,2011. The complainant filed a reply stating that the dismissal was illegal and the respondent committed unfair labor practice and recommending a criminal prosecutor against them.
On March 1,2011. The complainant filed a rejoinder to submersed the respondent stance. Because the management/respondent in so doing has deprived the complainant their right to confront such witnesses, double worst the respondent failed to cite who were their additional witnesses and their statement if any.
After several changing of both parties on their own position, NLRC thru Arbiter napoleon Fernando released the decision on may 16,2011. And the NLRC definitely show that the complainants presence in toyota’s plant poses a threat to its operation and it’s workers and , thus, inimical to the company’s interest and it’s employees’ well-being.
On May 26,2011. The complainanat filed an Appeal Memorandum to question the one sided decision of Arbiter Fernando, without taking note that the complainant did not commit any threat to the company and lives of their fellow workers.
On July 17,2011. NLRC Labor commissioner received the case Ronald Belen et.al with the case number of NLRC case no RAB-1V 11-01989-10L and raffled to the 5th division of the NLRC under commissioner Leonardo Leonida with the NLRC-LAC no. 07-001786- 11.
On August 13, September 13, and October 10, 2011. After 3 months the status of the case is still under review by the commissioner.
On the fourth month of follow up regarding our case thru NLRC Commisioner level, The status is still pending and under review by the 5th Division.
Fact sheet Statement:
For almost two decade now we have been fighting for a right, which by virtue of our own Constitution, should had been respected and guaranteed in the first place. After successfully securing recognition from the Philippine Labour Department on March 16 2001, the Philippine Toyota management instead of recognizing the legitimacy of our union, Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. Workers Association (TMPCWA), proceeded in massive illegal dismissal and campaigning against any genuine representation of the workers inside the company.
The management effectively blocked the order of the Labour department, by filing countless appeals to different government agencies and even courts, trying desperately to do away with the court order.
Facing with no other recourse, we went into strike, a right guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution. Few days in the picket line, a delegation of Japanese businessmen Headed by the top brass of Toyota visited Malacanang Palace (where the President of the Philippines resides) and threatened to pull out all Japanese investment if the government will not stop our strike. Few days after, the department of labour order a return to work order under the penalty of losing our jobs. Wary of the legal consequences, lest we lost the upper ground, we decided to follow the order.
Turned out, it was the management who did not follow the order of accepting the workers. A return to work order also enjoins the company to allow the workers to continue working, resuming the production while continuing the talks, with the labor department officials in attendance with all the negotiations. But since doing so would mean defeat, the management dared the legal impossibility of declaring our strike illegal, and subsequently dismissing 233 union members and the entire TMPCWA leadership. The decision to declare a strike illegal belongs to the Department of Labor, but nonetheless, the Toyota management is unblinking in its actions. This is an arrogance committed by a company previously unheard of.
We filed subsequent cases questioning the legality of the dismissal since we observed the minimum legal requirement before we went into strike, such as filing a notice of strike at the department of labor and conducting a voting procedure to determine the decision of the membership. A unified case has reached the Supreme Court of the Philippines and decided in September 2003 that Toyota’s continued refusal for a collective bargaining with TMPCWA is not permissible.
Not permissible, but I would say, not impossible. Yes, the Toyota management ignored the Court’s decision. This is when we decided to bring the case outside the legal arena.
We tried to engage international organizations, such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and succeed, but unfortunately, the Toyota Philippines with the backing of Toyota Japan, is so arrogant that all ILO recommendations to the Government of the Philippines are still unheeded.
The struggle has caught attention from the Japanese workers and our union was invited and became a member of All Japan Shipbuilding and Engineering Union (ZENZOSEN) in September 2004 and jointly struggle together with a wide range of support from Support Group for TMPCWA in Japan.
For this dispute, the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) has been making efforts in settling the dispute through countless negotiations. In March of 2006 however, the negotiation failed, and the IMF Executive Committee decided in Oslo on May 18 to 19, 2006, to launch a global campaign against Toyota, entitled: “The campaign to Reinstate Them Now!”
The campaign is effective; drawing supports from 71 organizations in 44 countries, and organized the international day of protest in front of the Japanese Embassies worldwide. Still, Toyota won’t budge.
TMPCWA and the Support Group for TMPCWA continue building solidarity network to other countries to build strong solidarity support to Philippine Toyota workers that sustained global actions against Toyota since 2006 up to 2010, but Toyota keep on ignoring the illegally dismissed workers.
Eventually, Philippine Toyota created its own “union”, and filed it at the Department of Labor. Unfortunately, the labour department granted undue recognition to the management’s union and inked a railroaded CBA that lasted only May 2011.
In October 19 2007 the Supreme Court of the Philippines release a decision contradictory to the basic constitutional rights of workers the right to strike and violated the International Labor Standard law the freedom of association and collective bargaining with a confirmation in its Entry of Judgment in 2008 March.
Despite all these we are determined to continue the struggle. This is to say, that however invincible Toyota might seems, it has its weaker points and will yield eventually.
This is a huge struggle, too large for any union to fight alone much less a worker alone. That is why, even with all of these seemingly insurmountable difficulties, we have no choice but to persevere in our struggle, in Toyota for example. Doing less would be doing disservice to the workers as a whole, and particularly, betrayal to the ones whodied doing their work.
Last August 2010, Toyota again illegally dismissed 4 officers and active members that still working inside the factory.
Last August 24, 2011, we brought the issue to the Department of Justice trying to ask some help from the new Secretary of Justice Hon. Laila De Lima, on their expert investigation to the unconstitutionality of Supreme Court decision into our case.
Until this time we still not receive any information whatsoever. With your help in whatever manner you deem it right we can win this struggle.
Our specific demands:
- Please help the illegally dismissed workers in fighting for the REINSTATEMENT.
- Possibility of contacting the Hon. Secretary of the Department of Justice Ms.Laila De Lima for the possibility of reopening the case with unconstitutionality issues by the Supreme Court Decision.
- To release a Statement from the CHURCH PEOPLES-WORKERS SOLIDARITY to urge Toyota to implement the ILO recommendations. (To be sent to Toyota Head Quarters in Japan, US, Philippines and the media networks).
- To support the next anti-Toyota international day of protest in October 2011.
- Possible support for small amount of donation for the children of the illegally dismissed members of our union that continuing the struggle for justice for more than a decade now.
- Statement of support for the reinstatement campaign and justice for the illegally dismissed workers of Toyota.
- We are open for all kind of possible support that you can give to us.