FCF Manufacturing Corp workers in Bataan begin “strike vote”

This article is available in Pilipino

Starting today until March 3, FCF Manufacturing Corporation workers begin their “strike vote” to decide whether to mount a strike in connection with the company’s measly and insulting ₱2 wage increase offer made during Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations. The FCF Manufacturing Workers Union (BMFCFM) is holding the vote amid the company’s maneuvers and intimidation against workers.

FCF Manufacturing Corp is located at the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) in Mariveles, Bataan. The company produces luxury accessories such as leather bags and wallets for brand names Coach and Kate Spade. FCF is among the companies under the Fashion Focus Ltd based in China.

To prevent the planned strike, the management of FCF and its sister company FPF secretly met workers on February 26 to intimidate and campaign not to support the “strike vote” of BMFCFM. Workers are being told to transfer to the FPF and to resign without pay purportedly due to lack of production.

“Management only intimidates and threatens FCF workers. The company wants to undermine the unity of workers for them not to vote for the strike and escape responsibilities to the workers’ CBA,” the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng FAB (NMFAB) stated. They said it was a desperate attempt by the company to discourage workers and divide their ranks.

The tactic of voluntary resignations and transferring workers to the FPF is a way to erase the years of accumulated service of workers that guarantee them benefits and rights. There is also no certainty if the FPF will actually accept them when they voluntarily resign from the FCF. “This is clearly intimidation, and only a deceptive ploy to undermine the fight for wages,” the NMFAB insisted.

Despite the workers’ demand since December 2023, since the filing of Notice of Strike (NoS) before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), the company insists that it will only agree to a ₱2 wage increase in the CBA. Workers’ minimum wages in such companies have been stuck for more than a decade.

All FCF workers receive only ₱500 daily wages. This is a far cry from the estimated ₱1,142 living wage in Central Luzon, which includes Bataan. Apart from this, violations of workers’ rights are also widespread such as constant forced leaves, illegal dismissals, and inhumane working conditions in the company.

“There is a wide gap between the workers’ wages and the value they create with products reaching ₱2,000 to ₱20,000 each,” NMFAB added. In 2022, the company earned ₱2.8 billion. “Therefore it is impossible that the company cannot provide the wage increase demanded by workers,” NMFAB insisted.

NMFAB called on FCF workers to strengthen unity amid the company’s capitalist owners’ attempts to divide them. “In the future, we expect management to use various methods to weaken the fight against wage increases. Let us not be afraid of this management’s tactic, but rather strengthen unity and strengthen the stance,” according to the group.

They challenge the workers: “Win the YES to STRIKE vote. This is just the beginning of our just fight for wages, beyond this, we must prepare for the planned strike.”

AB: FCF Manufacturing Corp workers in Bataan begin "strike vote"