Philippine Update: Asbestos protest calls for Canada to close Jeffrey mine

Checking asbestos death facts: Judith Estavillo and Rolante Santos of ALU-TUCP

December 1, 2010: Manila, Philippines – The Associated Labor Unions (ALU), the Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) asked Canada to close Jeffrey asbestos mine in Quebec in a protest around the Canadian Embassy in Manila in 25 November 2010. ALU, BWI and TUCP condemned the planned opening of an underground mine in Quebec. Bankrupt Jeffrey Mine got a new lease of life when an anonymous consortium of Indian investors agreed to inject fresh capital into its operations. The new mine can export 200,000 tons of asbestos per year for the next 25 to 50 years to developing countries mostly in Asia including the Philippines.
The protest was in response to the Embassy for not meeting the labor groups twice in a row this year.  The Canadian Embassy declined to meet the labor groups for the handover of the trade union statement pushing for asbestos ban and urging Canada to stop mining and exporting asbestos during the April 28 International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD).  The Embassy completely ignored the request during the October 7 World Day for Decent Work despite repeated follow ups.
This was part of a bigger protest in Makati’s Ayala Avenue about job contractualization and outsourcing in support of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA). 2,600 PALEA members stand to lose their jobs as the labor department affirmed PAL’s decision to outsource its non-core services. Some 2,500 from PALEA, ALU, TUCP and various labor groups joined the protest.

Dominador M. Tuvera,
Campaign Officer
Associated Labor Unions (ALU) – TUCP
Tel.: +632 922 2575; Cell.: +63 927 8095221

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