Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Migrante BC (Canada) Salutes Courage of Denny’s Workers

As a community-based organization composed of Filipino caregivers, migrant workers, and immigrants, MIGRANTE-BC* (Canada) stands in steadfast solidarity with the more than 50 Filipino temporary foreign workers (TFWs) who recently launched the $10 million class action suit against Denny’s Restaurant.

In the suit, the workers allege that: Denny’s did not provide them the 40 hours of work each week as stipulated in their contract; did not pay them overtime; and was not providing their two-way airfare between Philippines and Canada. Further, the suit states that as per Canadian and Philippine regulations, Denny’s and its authorized agents ICEA and LUZERN violated these when it exacted from the workers up to $6,000 in the form of recruitment fees.

These breach of contract and unjust enrichment allegations committed by Denny’s against the TFWs are a clear violation of the rights and welfare of the temporary foreign workers hired by Denny’s.

We salute the courage of the TFWs to come forward and file this case. Given that many TFWs are threatened with deportation if they dare speak up, it is inspiring that the Denny’s TFWs have come forward to shed light on the exploited plight of TFWs in Canada.

There were approximately 280,000 TFWs in Canada last December 2009, with those from the Philippines comprising the largest number at around 51,000, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Common issues for many TFWs include low wages, lack of job security, lack of benefits, vulnerability to contract violations, separation from families and sub-standard living conditions.

Given that the Aquino administration in the Philippines is bent on heightening further its export of workers to Canada and around the world, it is certain that the number of TFWs facing conditions similar to that of the Denny’s workers will increase.

As such, MIGRANTE-BC recognizes the importance of this class suit to all TFWs across Canada. This is a precedent setting case whose impact will surely reverberate around the country, in the Philippines and beyond.

MIGRANTE-BC commits its support and solidarity to the Denny’s workers and pledges to educate, organize and mobilize the broadest number of migrant workers and their families to continue always the fight for the rights and welfare of all temporary foreign workers.

Leo Alejandria
Migrante BC (Canada)
February 12, 2011
email: migrante_bc@ymail.com

*BC - initials of the province of British Columbia, Canada
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