On Eton tragedy’s first anniversary: Group urges Aquino to show muscle vs labor rights violators like Eton

Reference: Anna Leah Escresa, Justice for Eton 11 Network co-convenor, 0908-864-2151

Blog: http://www.eton11.tumblr.com

27 January 2012

On Eton tragedy’s first anniversary:
Group urges Aquino to show muscle vs labor rights violators like Eton

Families and supporters of Eton Residences construction workers, who died in a gondola plunge last year, trooped to the accident site in Makati City today to call for justice on the first anniversary of the tragedy and to pin down Eton and its contractors for their liability over the tragedy. [Photos of the picket attached]

Led by the Justice for Eton 11 Network, the group also expressed dismay over the Aquino government’s failure to go after companies which are compromising health and safety and undermining job security.

“If President Noynoy Aquino can use his executive whip against corrupt officials in the bureaucracy, why can’t he do the same to big labor rights violators like Eton Properties? Why can’t he push for a thorough investigation against these anti-labor companies, just like what he is pushing against Chief Justice Renato Corona at the moment?” asked Anna Leah Escresa, Justice for Eton 11 Network’s co-convenor.

“The Eton tragedy is about lost lives of highly exploited workers. Why is it not enough for the government to show its muscle against Eton and its contractors?” she added.

On Jan. 27, 2011, 10 construction workers died while another one was seriously injured after a gondola they were riding crashed from the 28th floor of the condominium owned by Eton Properties Philippines Inc., the real estate arm of tycoon Lucio Tan.

It was found out that that the workers were earning poverty wages (P270/ day), and were denied job security as they were employed by Eton via multiple subcontractors.

Escresa noted that what the labor department did was to only facilitate health and safety trainings among Eton Residences workers following the tragedy. No one was held accountable for the gross neglect of labor standards on occupational health and safety and decent work.

“President Aquino’s indifference towards the Eton tragedy has spawned a climate of impunity in work sites. Following the tragedy, we have seen a string of striking work accidents which killed and injured dozens of workers,” Escresa said.

The group cited the following accidents as proof: the accident in Keppel shipyard in Subic, Zambales last October which killed six workers; the construction accidents in Megaworld in Eastwood and SM General Santos City; and the landslide in Compostela Valley early this year which killed more than 30 miners.

“As long as no one is held accountable for these grim accidents, the long list of victims will grow longer by the day. Justice will remain elusive to workers,” Escresa concluded.

 

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