ZAMBALES, Philippines – For the fifth day, some 100 workers of the financially troubled Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction-Philippines continued to stage a protest at the Korean shipbuilding facility on Tuesday, March 5.
The workers said they have been barred by the Hanjin management from entering the company’s premises for refusing to sign the voluntary retrenchment program offered to them.
The protest has prompted authorities led by government soldiers and policemen to secure a Hanjin gate that the workers have been picketing at since Friday, March 1.
About 7 military men and 6 cops have been guarding Hanjin’s facility since Monday morning, March 4.
The group Samahan ng mga Manggagawa ng Hanjin (Samahan) said they have been told by the soldiers to keep their protest peaceful.
“We will not sign the retrenchment program because we want to keep our jobs. Hanjin as a principal company is legally responsible for its workers if its subcontracting companies shut down,” one worker said.
Virgilio Rodrigo, general secretary of Samahan, had said that they have been locked out of the shipyard since Friday.
The protesting workers continued to hold banners demanding the company to give them their jobs back.
Rodrigo said 15 more subcontracting companies of Hanjin have issued notices of closure effective March 31.
He said the workers were given the promise that they would receive their salary for March and a separation pay.
Hanjin had earlier declared bankruptcy because it owed some $400 million from Philippine banks, aside from $900 million in debts from lenders in South Korea.
The Korean company filed a financial rehabilitation plan before the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 72.
Earlier this year, the court granted its petition for receivership and placed the South Korean shipbuilding firm under corporate rehabilitation.
Its liquidity problem had forced it to lay off more than 7,000 workers in December 2018. – Rappler.com
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