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Thursday, October 1

Telecom workers doubly devastated by redundancy and deadly disasters




Filipinos with families affected by tyhoon Ondoy and Samoans with families affected by tsunami are now doubly devastated.

“Telecom’s refusal to negotiate a fair deal for workers is the height of merciless greed at this time of great tragedies for workers from the Philippines and Samoa . Telecom and its partner Visionstream are giant disasters greedy for profits that rob workers of their future.

Thousands of phone lines and Internet are waiting to be fixed but Telecom refuses to heed the workers’ union’s demand for fair deal,” Dennis Maga, Migrante Aotearoa national coordinator stated.

Today, Filipinos joined the rally on Telecom’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) to protest the final takeover of the Northland and Auckland patches by Telecom's new contractor Visionstream.

Hundreds of Telecom workers including New Zealanders and migrant workers from the Philippines and other countries are now jobless because of Telecom’s contract with Visionstream that is grossly unfair for workers. Visionstream won’t take the workers unless they sign a contract that will turn them heavily indebted and strip them of job security.


Workers are required to switch from working for the company as employees to being sub-contracted owner operators. To become a subcontractor to Visionstream, one has to have between $20,000 and $30,000 to be in business and the former workers will take on all the associated risk. Workers will have to choose if they want to become
heavily indebted or be out of work.

Medelito Panalagao, one of the Filipinos made redundant, is now at loss where to get S4,000 to pay for the biopsy and operation of his wife who is battling cancer.

“Medelito lost his job at a time when he most need it. His wife was admitted in a Philippine hospital last Friday and luckily escaped Saturday massive flooding at home. But now Medelito is frantically searching for means to pay for hospital bills on top of his debts from previous hospitalization of his wife in the Philippines,” Mr Maga related.

Migrante Aotearoa appeals to Filipinos and all concerned to help gather support for Medelito.

For those who would like to help, the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) is collecting donations for Medelito Panalagao’s wife hospital assistance through it free phone 0800 1 UNION (O800 186 466). Migrante Aotearoa is also running a relief fund drive for victims of typhoon Ondoy.