Scores were injured while 3 of the union officers were mauled yesterday, 8 May 2002, when security guards of Hyatt Regency attacked some 100 employees who were on their third day of peaceful picket protests in front of the plush hotel in Pasay City.
“This just shows the hotel’s utter disregard for human and trade union rights,” Edwin Bustillos, President of Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Hyatt (SAMASAH-NUWHRAIN-APL), said.
The labor row stemmed from the mass lay-off of 48 regular rank and file employees, which, the management said was due to redundancy and cost cutting. However, even before issuing walking papers to the hapless workers, the management hired 60 contractual employees through 3 manning agencies. Meanwhile, the Hotel management, in clear violation of its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Union, insisted on filling up positions previously vacated by regular employees with casual workers.
The Hotel management has yet to show evidence of financial losses. In 1999, the Hotel earned P35 million pesos while in 2000 it earned P39 million pesos. The Hotel continues to ignore the Union’s repeated demands for its financial statement in 2001.
To make matters worse, the Hotel also ignored the Union’s offer to take what amounted to pay cuts to avoid retrenchments so long as management can show proof of financial losses. The Union’s proposal for cost saving measures even included taking 30-day vacation leaves without pay and a 5-day working period
“One does not have to be a genius to figure out the Hotel management’s intention – to replace regular employees with contractual and casual workers, ultimately to bust the union,” Bustillos said. “If this is not resolved in the soonest possible time, we would be forced to take strike action,” he added.
Hotel Enterprises of the Philippines, Inc. (HEPI), owner of the Hyatt Regency Manila, signed a CBA with the Union last year, 19 November 2001, specifying that the Hotel should maintain 248 regular rank and file employees for the period 2001-2003. Reneging on its commitment, the Hotel management plans to reduce its regular workforce to 150.
The Union filled a Notice of Strike (NOS) for unfair labor practices, including CBA violations, last 12 April 2002.
NUWHRAIN is a national union of workers in the hotel, restaurant and food industries. It is a founding member of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and is affiliated to the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) based in Geneva, Switzerland.