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Philippines Triumph International Garment Workers on Solidarity

Friday, April 30, 2010

Triumph workers in the Philippines (photo by http://cleanclothes.org)

I was able to interview Melona Veclan, yesterday, the campaign director of Defend Jobs Philippines which is helping the union and workers of Triumph International in the southern region of the National Capital Region in the Philippines.  Ten months prior the company laid off almost its entire workforce (except for a few key white collar workers) of (mostly) women whom many had been making garments for the company for over twenty years.  Since then the workers have been manning picket lines and surrounding the factory to make sure many of the heavy equipment doesn’t leave the factory, depriving the company of its valuable equipment and resources.

On international solidarity Veclan stated:

In terms of international solidarity we are in contact with fellow workers and unions in Thailand and Triumph International workers in Thailand and we are also in contact with concerned organizations and trade unions in Asia and especially in Hong Kong and Thailand and in Europe. International solidarity for the demands of the Triumph workers and especially for all workers who are being affected by the global crisis is very important for Triumph International workers especially given the current [global economic crisis] is being used by Triumph to justify the closure of its factory in the Philippines. Workers and others overseas have also expressed solidarity [with us], especially in countries were Triumph also operates because Triumph International. is also doing the same [practices] to exploit the workers. For example, in Austria before this current economic crisis they had 8,000 total workers in their workforce but in a few years Triumph Int. cut it down to 5,000 workers and now, recently, there are only 2,000 remaining workers in the factories in Austria.

The most important thing right now is the unity of the workers of Triumph International across the globe and in the Philippines. We cannot do the fight alone and we cannot also win the fight without the support of the fellow workers and the Triumph workers in the Philippines and also throughout the world to support the unjust affects of the global crisis on the workers in the Philippines and abroad. We are asking everybody and everyone to support us in our demands to take over the factory and to let the workers run and operate the factory for concrete benefits and to better the livelihood of the workers. Especially right now that there have been no job opportunities in the Philippines.

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