Labour ministry officials in the Philippines have been in dialogue with the country’s cement unions, recognizing them as social partners in the merger of cement giants Holcim and Lafarge, and aimed at preserving jobs.
On 4 March, IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Philippine Cement Workers Council (PCWC), which was also representing other Filipino cement workers and their unions, met labour ministry officials in the presence of the Labour Secretary, Rosalinda Baldoz. During the meeting, held at the Department of Labour and Employment, the parties thrashed out the issues and concerns related to the merger process between Holcim and Lafarge. The governmental officials made a firm commitment to continue dialogue in order to gain assurance workers’ rights are taken into account during the merger process.
Baldoz emphasized that workers should be properly informed and consulted by the employers on the issues related to the merger that are not clear to them: “In these challenging times of global integration, industry partners must move hand-in-hand to compete while aiming at assuring secured jobs and better benefits for the workers,” said Baldoz.
Macario Noble, president of PCWC, maintained that the union would be on their guard until management of both companies Holcim and Lafarge guarantees that workers’ rights are respected. “We want to make sure that there will be no lay-offs and our existing collective agreements have to be respected,” said Noble.
At the conclusion of the discussions, the labour officials reiterated the need for a second meeting this month with the aim to form a tripartite cement industry council as a platform for a continuing dialogue towards a sustainable cement industry.