Published: 15/10/2018
PhilipMorrisPhilippinesWorkers at the largest tobacco company in the Philippines have been on strike since September 28, protesting factory closures and mass lay-offs. The Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Labor Union (PMFTCLU-NAFLU) supported by Partido Manggagawa launched strike action on September 28 to protest the mass redundancies. Philip Morris-Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC), a joint venture between Philip Morris International and Fortune Tobacco Corporation, controls 90% of the Philippine cigarette market. Fortune Tobacco Corporation is owned by the billionaire tycoon Lucio Tan, who is chairperson of PMFTC. Philip Morris International manages day-to-day operations at PMFTC.

In August 2018 PMFTC arbitrarily closed the redrying plant in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, terminating 90 workers, and laid off another 220 workers (a third of the workforce) at its Marikina factory. Although the company announced rising productivity and profits, with workers reaching their targets, management refused to provide any information on the reasons for the closure and layoffs and also refused to engage in any negotiations with the union.

PMFTCLU-NAFLU and Partido Manggagawa continue to maintain picket lines at both the Vigan and Marikina factories which remain closed.