When Push Comes to Shove: Demanding Justice for the Former Lamour Workers!

Rally in support of former Lamour Inc. workers in Montréal, Québec

Monday July 14, 2008
35 Port-Royal East

Statement of the Filipino Workers Support Group (FWSG)

Montréal, Québec -- On Monday, July 14th a group of former textile workers will present themselves at a hearing with the Quebec Labour Relations. The workers are charging that the union that was in place in their former work place Lamour Inc. was a management run union and misrepresented them at a time when the company was closing its factory in Montreal and moving operations to places like China, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. The workers demands are simple, force the union to file their complaints to the Quebec Labour Standards Commission for just compensation. After years of toiling for the company they deserve more than just a dismissal notice.

Most of the group of workers stepping forward to fight come from the Philippines and were spouses of former domestic workers who sponsored them to come to Canada. They worked in foreign owned companies when they lived in the Philippines and know a thing or two about how monopoly corporations operate in the third world. Their unions were banned, their actions suppressed and their job security was thrown out the door as their permanent positions were replaced with “flexible” labour through contracting and seasonal work. This was the legacy of years of implementing the so called “neo-liberal” policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation in their country.

Many Filipinos leaving to work abroad have come from the small villages in the vast countryside of the Philippines. Families sell off the little land they have left and incur huge personal debts so that they can send their wives, daughters and mothers to work as live-in slaves in foreign lands. Other families send off their husbands, sons and fathers to work in the oil fields or in construction in the Middle East or as modern day galley slaves on the ships that transport the goods of a “globalized” world.

The present Arroyo regime is expected to paint a rosy picture of the Philippine economy and social progress during her State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 28. She is expected to deny the continuing human rights violations under her regime, ignore the presence of food insecurity and hail the Philippine economy and state as stronger than ever. Her SONA will try to belie the fact that thousands of migrants leave the Philippines each day, forced to migrate by the economic hardship and a corrupt regime hell bent on suppressing dissent and tagging workers strikes and other democratic actions of the people as “terrorist” acts. It is a move to appease foreign monopolies operating in the Philippines, ensure “labour peace” in export processing zones and to keep secure the interests of her US imperialist master in the region.

Thousands of miles from their country of birth and for some more than ten years since they arrived in their new home the Filipino workers now face the same exploitative conditions and suppression of their rights that they thought they had escaped. Now wiser and together with other immigrant workers originally coming from India, Bangladesh and Haiti they will take their stand on Monday. Pushed out of their homeland and shoved out of their jobs, they are beginning to realize that they have nothing left to lose but their chains.

On Monday, the former workers of Lamour Inc. will face off with the high priced lawyers of the company and the fake union, will endure the intimidation tactics during the hearing and will expose the realities and impacts of a dying industry in Montreal. Imperialist globalization is not the answer to the poverty and misery of the workers of the world.

The Filipino Workers Support Group of Montreal is calling friends and allies to come out on Monday in front of the Labour Relations building. Join us in a rally to support the workers and demand, “Justice for the former workers of Lamour! Down with imperialist globalization! Imperyalismo ibagsak!”

The Filipino Workers Support Group is a member of Migrante International, Bayan Canada Organizing Committee and the International League of People’s Struggle.

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