Workers demand investigation of abusive practices in Burger Machine

workers’ group is asking the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to investigate a fast food company allegedly forcing its employees to work in a shift continuously which sometimes extend up to several days.

“The DOLE should immediately inspect Burger Machine for forcing their employees to work non-stop for several days until a replacement is available,” Katherine Culaba, an organizer for Respect Fast Food Workers’ Alliance said in a statement.

According to Culaba, the conditions of workers in the fastfood industry is among the worst in the country. “We have long known the conditions of the workers in the fastfood sector hence our efforts to organize their ranks but if this is true, then Burger Machine would have managed unfortunately to raise the bar of exploitation higher than most of its peers,” Culaba said.

On Thursday, a facebook account owner posted about what transpired between two employees both working for fastfood companies where she learned of the exploitative working conditions the workers have to go through for daily wages that are way below the prescribed rate for the National Capital Region.

The post is now making rounds in the social media as FB account owners keep reposting it. The group is urging DOLE to probe the case and penalize immediately the company should the investigation proved the allegation true.

“We have actually reports from different fastfood establishments of employees working beyond the prescribed eight hours with no overtime payment but so far, this is the worst if it’s true,” Culaba said.

The group has actually interviewed several workers of Burger Machine, with experiences identical to what the FB account user has posted. The said workers however are working in a franchise, revealing a far common practice in the said fastfood company.

According to Culaba, she was able to talk to two of these employees, with one actually worked for more than four days of continuous shift, when his supposed substitute failed to report.

“What is more, these workers are regularly made to pay for discrepancies in the company’s inventory, deducting the equivalent amount of the ‘lost items’ from their pittance of wages,” she added.

Culaba also said that cases like this is the reason why her group and other labor and workers’ groups are asking the government to prohibit constractualization to protect the workers against similar conditions in the future.

MALAYANG HUKUMANG HINDI SUNUD-SUNURAN, ATING IPAGLABAN!

Matapos tanggalin ng Korte Suprema si Maria Lourdes Sereno bilang Chief Justice sa botong 8-6, naging malinaw na hindi Saligang Batas ang sinusunod ng Kataas-taasang Hukuman kundi kagustuhan ng iilang nasa kapangyarihan. Nakikita namin sa Kalipunan ng Kilusang Masa, isang koalisyon ng mga kilusang manggagawa, magsasaka, kababaihan, maralitang lungsod, kabataan-estudyante, maka-kalikasang aktibista, na ngayon higit kailanman, kinakailangang ipaglaban ng higit na malawak na hanay ng mga mamamayan ang isang hudikaturang tunay na malaya at hindi sunud-sunuran sa iilan.

Nasa interes ng mga batayang sektor na maging malaya mula sa impluwensiya ng iilang may kapangyarihan ang Supreme Court bilang pinal na tagahatol sa sangay ng hudikatura. Kilala ng mga mamamayan ang mukha ng isang hudikaturang nakompromiso—pinahihintulutang ilibing ang isang diktador sa libingan ng mga bayani, pinapalaya ang mga nahatulan ng katiwalian, sinasang-ayunan ang pagkakatalaga ng Batas Militar, pinagkakaloob ang bahagi ng nakaw na coco levy kay Danding Cojuangco, binabaliktad ang mga desisyon pabor sa manggagawa sa kaso ng PAL-FASAP at iba pang mga ‘di makamamamayang desisyon.

Samakatuwid, ang pakikibaka para sa demokrasya ay higit pa kaysa kay Sereno; marapat nangingibabaw sa ating pakikibaka na ang mga atake sa kalayaan ng hudikatura ay atake rin sa mga mamamayan. Kahingian ng kasalukuyang kalagayan ng lipunan na labanan at biguin ang lahat ng atake ni Pangulong Duterte sa mga demokratikong institusyong palayo nang palayo mula sa mga isyung malapit sa taumbayan. Kailangang ipagtanggol ang sustansya ng Saligang Batas, at tanggihan ang umuusbong na awtoritarianismo.

Nakikiisa ang KALIPUNAN sa lahat ng mga demokratikong pwersang patuloy na naninindigan, at kinukundena ang pagkakatanggal kay Sereno bilang Chief Justice upang ilantad sa harap ng kalakhan ng mga mamamayan na ang kasalukuyang Hukuman, lalo’t higit sa desisyon nitong tanggalin si Sereno, ay huwad at sunud-sunuran. Nananawagan din kami na baliktarin ang desisyon ng Supreme Court na nilalapastangan ang diwa ng Saligang Batas at mamagitan ang Senado upang itama ang pagkakamaling ito.

Adyenda ng masa: Hindi diktadura!
Karapatan ng mamamayan, ipaglaban!

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Coalition Against Trafficking In Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)
Kilos Maralita (KM)
Pakisama (Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka)
Partido Manggagawa (PM)
Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)
Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD Ateneo de Manila)
Urban Poor Alliance (UP-All)
World March of Women – Pilipinas

Sentro’s statement on the Abolition of the PCGG

The move to abolish the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) is another dastardly act!

Rather than give closure to a bloody and human rights violations-laden period of the country’s political life, this action is actually rubbing salt to the wounds of thousands of victims of the Marcos dictatorship.

Many of these victims are workers, peasants, students, professionals and church workers, some survived, some felled by the butchers of the dictator.

It is ironic, that today, thousands of Filipinos who survived and the families of those who did not make it, have lined up many ATMs of LandBank, checking on the monetary reparation from the very few stolen money and liquid property of the Marcos family. Those who survived were able to secure P4,000 pesos, while the heir of the those who died were given only P10,000, and had to wait for 15 years before the government could enforce and give it to the victims. The Marcos family, yes, the same Bong Bong Marcos who is hell-bent in stealing the vice presidency from the sitting Vice President, the same Imee Marcos who is currently the governor of Ilocos Norte, has challenged the court decisions every step of the way.

The abolition only serves the interests of the Marcoses, and not the Filipino people. It will effectively sidestep important issues such as the following:

First, the government has yet to recover millions of dollars stolen by the Marcoses. The amount, estimated to be at least P10 million dollars, would really help the families of the victims many of whom remain as poor as they were during the time of Marcos.

Second, the Marcos family has yet recognize of their deeds and to make a formal apology.

And third, the country has yet to formulate a mechanism to prevent the reappearance of another dictator.

The government is very slow in eliminating the contractualization yet it showed swiftness and efficiency in abolishing an agency which demonstrates the misdeeds of one family.

Indeed, Mr. Duterte is fast-shedding the last vestiges of its pretence as pro-poor.

We call on all democratic forces to work together to ensure that this legislation is defeated.

Never Again to the Marcoses!

Sentro’s statement on issues of domestic workers in Kuwait

Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) shares the jubilation of hundreds of thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for the recent positive development in the diplomatic row between the Kuwaiti and the Philippine governments.

As part of the resolution, the Kuwaiti government announced last 9 May 2018 that the concerns of all migrant domestic workers will henceforth be handled by the Labor Department. In other words, migrant domestic workers will now be considered as workers!

This is a major victory for more than half a million migrant domestic workers in Kuwaiti, including Filipinos. It is the culmination of years of work by SANDIGAN, together with the Kuwait Trade Union Federation (KTUF) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

“We are very pleased with the Kuwaiti government’s decision,” Mary Ann Abunda, head of SANDIGAN, said. “We could not have done it without the help of the KTUF,” she added.

SANDIGAN, a Filipino migrant rights advocacy group in Kuwait, was one of the first to raise the red flag of alarm when a group of media-attention-hungry Philippine officials staged a ‘heroic’ rescue operation for several OFWs. Rather than promote the protection of OFWs, their brazenness actually endangered the lives of OFWs in Kuwait.

SENTRO commends all the OFWs who had petitioned both the Philippine and the Kuwaiti governments to resolve the issue at the earnest, and kudos to the individuals from both parties who work silently to resolve the case, far from the media limelight.

SENTRO also commends the Kuwait government for its part in the solution and the tacit admittance that it needs the skills, intelligence, and caring hands of the OFWs.

“The decision of the Kuwaiti government is definitely a step in the right direction. But more needs to be done, Josua Mata, Secretary General of SENTRO, said.

SENTRO urges the Kuwaiti government to abolish the dreaded ‘kafala system’ or the sponsorship system that leaves migrant workers vulnerable to abuse.

At the same time, SENTRO is calling on the Philippine government to intensify the effort of securing memorandum of agreements with other countries, particularly in the Middle East, to protect the rights and welfare Filipino migrant workers.

This is essentially the responsibility and reason for being of the various Philippine consular and diplomatic offices scattered all over the planet—to protect their own citizens, and not to conspire with foreign and local agencies and individuals for monetary and other purposes.

Finally, SENTRO urges the government to develop an industrial policy that would ensure regular and decent work for all in the country and institute a re-integration program. Then and only then can we make migration as real choice for our workers.

Press Statement on EO 54

PRESS STATEMENT
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa
12 May 2018
Any increase in the benefits for workers would always be welcome. We agree that increases in benefits for workers with permanent disabilities should somewhat be aligned with the increase granted to pensioners without permanent disabilities.
We are concerned about the sustainability of the fund. We have never seen the results of the actuarial studies cited in EO 54 as this matter was not discussed in the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC). Nor is there any major labor union representative in the ECC.
While the additional benefits did not come with any increase in premiums at this time, there is no assurance that EO 54 would not lead to a shortening in the longevity and viability of the SIF.
It should be noted that this is not the first time that politicians have used increases in welfare benefits to earn brownie points among the workers, who later end up paying additional premiums.
We, therefore, urge the Administration to publicly disclose the actuarial studies used in determining EO 54. ###
Contact Person:
Daniel L. Edralin
1st Vice-Chairperson for the Private Sector
SENTRO