SUBIC, Zambales -- For the fifth day, some 100 workers of the financially troubled Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction-Philippines or Hanjin continued to stage a protest rally at the Korean shipbuilding company's facility here Tuesday.
The workers said they have been barred by Hanjin’s management from entering the firm's premises for refusing to sign the voluntary retrenchment program offered to them.
The protest has prompted authorities led by soldiers and policemen to secure a Hanjin gate where the workers have been picketing since Friday last week.
About seven military men and six police personnel were seen guarding Hanjin's facility since Monday morning.
The group Samahan ng mga Manggagawa ng Hanjin (Samahan) said they have been told by the soldiers to keep their protest peaceful.
"We will not sign the retrenchment program because we want to keep our jobs. Hanjin, as a principal company, is legally responsible for its workers if its subcontracting companies shut down," a worker said.
According to Virgilio Rodrigo, general secretary of Samahan, they have been locked out of the shipyard since Friday.
The protesting workers continued to hold banners demanding the company to give them their jobs back.
Rodrigo said 15 more subcontracting companies of Hanjin have issued notices of closure effective March 31.
He said the workers were given the promise that they would receive their salary for March and their separation pay.
Hanjin had earlier declared bankruptcy because it owed Philippine banks some USD400 million, and lenders in South Korea. USD900 million.
The Korean company filed a financial rehabilitation plan before the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 72.
Early this year, the court granted its petition for receivership and placed the South Korean shipbuilding firm under corporate rehabilitation.
Its liquidity problem had forced it to lay off more than 7,000 workers last December. (PNA)