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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

IUF Protests Deadly Army, Police Assault on Striking Philippines Sugar Workers

Posted to the IUF website 02-Dec-2004

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The IUF has written the President and Labour Minister of the Philippines to demand swift judicial action and a full public investigation into the November 16 armed assault on striking sugar workers at the Hacienda Luisita plantation. The attack on the strikers by heavily armed motorized army and police units killed at least 2 workers and their family members, including two children aged 5 and 7. Some accounts estimate the number of fatalities at 14. Dozens more suffered gunshot wounds. The police had been ordered to enforce a return-to-work order issued by the Department of Labor and Employment under legislation dating from the Marcos dictatorship. In the message to the Philippine authorities the IUF also stressed the authoritarian legacy of industrial relations legislation and the urgent need to bring the country's labour law into line with ILO Conventions on freedom of association. Two unions are involved in the sugar dispute, one each for the mill and agricultural workers, neither of which is IUF-affiliated.

More information on the dispute is available in the lead story of the current issue of The Sugar Worker, available on the site by clicking here .