Monday, May 30, 2005

Labor dispute in Iraq resolved -- Palace

Posted 01:29am (Mla time) May 29, 2005
By Christine O. Avendaño, Jerome Aning
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page A3 of the May 29, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

MALACAÑANG yesterday said the situation at a United States military camp in Iraq involving Filipino workers who had gone on strike to protest poor working conditions had been "temporarily resolved.”

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye did not say how the matter had been resolved but in a text message, he said Chargé d' Affaires Eric Endaya had gone to the US military camp and "as a result of his mediation, the workers called off [their] protest.”

"The President is closely monitoring the issue and she is satisfied that through the intercession of [Endaya], the situation has been temporarily resolved,”

Bunye also said in a statement.Bunye said the rights and welfare of the workers was the government's "utmost concern.”

"They [workers] can rest assured the government will always be there to help,” he said.Some 300 Filipinos employed at Camp Cook in the Iraqi province of Taji went on strike last week after complaining about working conditions.

The workers also asked for more protection from the heat and cold, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.The DFA said Endaya was able to convince the leaders of the strike to end their protest and return to work by promising to take up their grievances and concerns with their employers.

The workers are under contract with Prime Projects International (PPI) and Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), manpower and logistics providers for the US military bases there.

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