A dialogue between the church people and the workers was held at the Marian Hall of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Rosario Cavite in conjunction with the celebration of the International Labor Day on May 1, 2012.

The church and the workers engaged with the theme Church’s Dialogue of Life with the Workers in Celebration of Labor Day. The said dialogue was sponsored by the Imus Diocese Ministry on Workers, Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW), Most Holy Rosary Parish, Philippine Independent Church Diocese of Cavite, Union Theological Seminary (UTS), and Workers Assistance Center, Inc (WAC).

The activity highlighted the testimonies of workers regarding issues on wage, right to unionize, job security, and poverty.

Richard a worker from EDS Manufacturing Inc. (EMI)-Yazaki, a Japanese company that manufactures and supplies lead wires and cables for cars, first discussed their situation. Richard asserted that even though workers wages in EMI-Yazaki is way above the mandated minimum wage, they are still struggling to make ends meet. He also added that they were able to secure increases in wages through Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the management company.

This was followed by the account of Marilou Pino, an illegally dismissed worker of Suminac Philippines, Inc. told their experience in establishing their union, Samahan ng mga Manggagwa sa Suminac (SMS). Marilou said that the management dismissed all active union officers and members including herself from the company. Suminac management actions according to her were done in order to foil the progress of their union. She also added that their dismissal was done at the middle of their motion to the Department Labor and Employment (DoLE) for a certification election.

Jeff, another worker from the Universal Robina Corporation (URC) owned and operated by the Gokongwei family that operates in First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE), Dasmariñas City, followed Marilou’s accounts. According to Jeff, what happened to SMS was something similar to their union, Universal Robina Corporation Labor Union (URCLU). URC management, according to Jeff, targets ‘stubborn’ union officers and members by transferring them to different URC plant or offering them separation pay the worker refuse to do so. Such actions from the management caused the union membership to dwindle, and like what happened to SMS, these were implemented by the management at the time of URCLU’s motion for a certification election before DoLE.

Shedding light to workers’ plight on job security, Crispin Recto recounted his experience as a contractual worker of Daeduck Philippines Inc. (DDPI) for nearly six (6) years and their pursuit to attain regular working status in the company.

Crispin said that he was initially hired directly by DDPI as a contractual worker but then transferred to a manpower agency. Crispin said that once the agency lets them sign five-month contracts after the other and later stopped but continued their job in DDPI. Crispin added that they finally challenged their situation after a conversation with the union in their company Daeduck Employees Union (DEU) and was assisted to WAC. They filed a case for their regularization in 2010 and gained favourable decision on August 2011 but then dismissed by the company a month after the decision was released.

On the other hand, Aurora Afable, a unionist of Kaisahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Phils Jeon Inc. (KMPJI) told her hardships as a worker and her present condition to the body. Aurora, first narrated their miserable conditions as workers in Phils Jeon Inc. that pushed them to form their union. She also went over the difficulties that they faced as unionists until the time they went on strike in 2006. She almost failed to say recounting the abduction that the unidentified masked men did on them while in their picket line in 2007. She broke in tears when she told that in order to tend for her family needs today, they scavenge garbage to look for recyclable materials that can be sold still after being jobless since 2006.

A workshop ensued after the testimonies to reflect upon on how the participants can contribute alleviate workers conditions on the said issues. The plenary resumed after the workshops where the results of the workshops were presented.

Earlier in the program, Ms. Xandra Bisenio from think-tank Ibon Foundation discussed before the participants facts on Globalization and how it affects workers while Mr. Danny Fabella, a famous singer-composer among the activists performed his compositions that clearly describe the everyday struggle of the poor and the marginalized for social change.