By Jun Cinco
Published: November 19, 2012
Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno slammed today the scheduled termination of 43 medical representatives by Merck Inc. Philippines, a German pharmaceutical company, saying the move is unfair to the company’s workers who contributed so much to the company’s rise.
“We condemn Merck Inc. for planning to terminate 43 of its workers in an attempt to cut down on labor costs by implementing outsourcing schemes,” KMU chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog said.
“The company clearly wants to deprive workers of wages and benefits which have been increased through workers’ struggle through the years. It wants to weaken the workers’ union and their right to collectively bargain,” he added.
Merck Inc. ordered the termination of 43 medical representatives effective Jan. 2013 after the company failed to reach its quota. KMU said terminating workers on this basis is highly questionable because the company would find it more difficult to reach the quota with a smaller workforce.
“The basis for the termination is bizarre. With the rising prices of goods and services in the country, companies are really finding it hard to reach their quotas,” Labog said.
“It should be noted, however, that workers have managed to maintain the company’s sales up. And wouldn’t it be harder for the company reach its quota if it terminates 25 per cent of its workforce?” Labog said.
“Clearly, this move is part of capitalists’ cost-cutting schemes to press down wages and deny workers their rights,” he added.
KMU claimed that the termination of Merck. Inc.’s workers are part of the German company’s austerity measures.
European workers have been holding general strikes and massive protests against austerity measures caused by the global financial and economic crisis which is hitting Germany hard.
“Even amidst crisis conditions, big capitalists are earning profits. They want, however, to further increase their profits despite the crisis,” Labog said.
“It is revolting to workers that they who played a crucial role in boosting big capitalists’ profits in pre-crisis times are immediately terminated when the crisis strikes,” he added.
“We call on Merck workers to be vigilant. For sure, the company is poised to terminate more workers. They must be ready to oppose these attacks against their wages, job security and workers’ rights,” Labog said.