Philippines: union leaders victimized after participating in IUF Global Housekeepers Campaign

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Three union leaders at the 5-star Peninsula Manila hotel, owned by the luxury Peninsula Hotels group, are facing harsh retaliation by hotel management for their involvement in the IUF’s Global Housekeepers Campaign and for effectively representing their members at the hotel.

To undermine the IUF-affiliated NUWHRAIN and to reverse significant gains for workers they have won at the hotel, Peninsula Manila managers used workers’ participation in the 2016 Global Housekeepers Week of Action as a pretext to suspend on January 3rd, for 15 days each Cesar Pagaling (Manila Peninsula Supervisors Chapter President) and Francisco Aliansas (Peninsula Employees Union Board of Director’s member) and to fire Jenny Marcos (Peninsula Employees Union Board of Director’s member). The Peninsula Employees Union and Manila Pen Supervisors Chapter are both members of NUWHRAIN.

The unions have negotiated improvements in the CBA and the introduction of trolley bags for housekeepers’ equipment when the hotel management tried to impose a “no cart” policy. Union action to secure inspections by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for compliance with national labour and health and safety regulations resulted in an order to regularize 405 casual employees including 55 housekeepers at the hotel. In another attempt to undermine the union, management has set up a yellow union to challenge NUWHRAIN in the upcoming certification election.

 

NAGKAISA denounces misrepresentation of Ruben Torres and Usec Say on worker-DOLE consensus that contractualization cannot be prohibited

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NAGKAISA, including the legitimate TUCP President Raymond Mendoza, a co-convenor of NAGKAISA and the author of HB No.4444 which will prohibit and criminalize contractualization, denounce in clear, categorical terms the underhanded attempt of Mr. Ruben Torres and apparently, DOLE Undersecretary Say, to misrepresent to media after the dialogue with Secretary Bello last Thursday, that a consensus was reached with labor leaders that contractualization is inevitable.

That is the very opposite of what legitimate labor federations under NAGKAISA, who constituted 90% of the groups meeting Sec. Bello last Thursday manifested jointly to the Secretary: That we rely on the Presidential promise to end contractualization, and that we look towards an Executive Order to proscribe it in the meantime and towards passage of a Presidentially-certified bill (in the guise of HB No.4444) which will end contractualization).

NAGKAISA is shocked and dismayed that news reports of the Worker-DOLE dialogue on how to end and prohibit contractualization are now being presented as a trade union-government lovefest where both sides reached the same conclusion: that contractualization is here to stay.

Their action constitutes the highest form of betrayal to workers who only want a fair deal. Ruben Torres’ acceptance of the continuation of contractualization for janitors, security guards and salesgirls is craven opportunism of the worst kind, sacrificing the lives of the poorest workers while invoking the name of trade unions for personal advancement. He clearly does not represent the true majority interest of labor.

Our true collective position remains firm: that contractualization is oppression of workers’ rights which allows employers to avoid giving workers a living wage and to deny them a decent life. This is the very reason that we requested that Sec. Bello work out our request for an audience with the President.

Furthermore, the seemingly coordinated statements of former Labor Secretary Ruben Torres, now resurrected and posing as a labor leader of a rump-group TUCP ( the DOLE itself has ruled with finality that his purported federation is not even a part of TUCP, and by that very logic Mr. Torres IS NOT EVEN A MEMBER of TUCP) and apparent partnering of DOLE Undersecretary Say, show the moral depravity that the enemies of workers will stoop to.

We will not allow this underhanded misrepresentation of our position to remain uncorrected. Mr. Torres and his co-horts the Eric Gutierrez-backed Roland de la Cruz , last seen, after their gleeful endorsement of the Presidential bid of Mar Roxas, are now trying to make themselves relevant as apologists of the unbridled free-market, labor-flexibilization schemes which the employers prefer as their justification to abuse the Filipino working class.

Mr. Torres is no way a part of the legitimate TUCP, nor of the larger workers movement. Media coverage would have it appear through their interviews that the meeting last Thursday at the DOLE between workers and top DOLE officials led by Secretary Bello was a veritable lovefest. What happened was the DOLE announced that they would have to go to the drawing board to do a new Department Order on contractualization NAGKAISA only reminded the DOLE that what they will craft, and the bill which we should ask be certified, live up to President Duterte’s promise: END IT! STOP IT!

Workers’ vigilance, protests stopped issuance of ‘win-win’ rules on endo

Photo by UNTV

Vigilance and mass actions even during the holiday season seem to have paid off as workers were able to spoil the premature celebrations of employers and contractors over reports that a new DOLE Department Order 168 was issued over the New Year which the NAGKAISA labor coalition deem was the triumph of the “win-win” solution proposed by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

In a dialogue with convenors of the NAGKAISA labor coalition last Thursday, DOLE senior officials led by Secretary Silvestre Bello announced to the group that no new Department Order was issued before the end of the year.

Said Order should have been issued as planned last December 28, according to Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say in a separate media interview Thursday.

NAGKAISA had launched mass actions and made appeals to President Duterte to reject the draft department orders circulated last month which apparently would allow an army of non-regular, contractor-deployed “seasonal” and “project” workers to supplant the despised “endo” system of contractualization.

President Duterte had made a campaign commitment to end contractualization within few weeks upon assumption to office. He reiterated this commitment during a year-ender interview with media. NAGKAISA warned that the supposed DO would perpetuate the contractualization policy that the President promised would be stopped.

Bello said he was willing to listen to the workers comments in crafting a fresh DO. The Secretary directed all his Undersecretaries to come out with separate drafts which will be consolidated by the DOLE into a new version on January 13. Said version will then be referred to the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) for consultations and will be issued as DO 1, series of 2017 when approved.

However, despite the suspended status of the new rules, NAGKAISA said workers face the same question on whether endo will be finally ended or the promise to ending endo is dead-ended by strong capitalist lobby or held hostage by economic managers.

During the dialogue NAGKAISA formally requested Sec. Bello to set up an audience with President Duterte where workers can air their appeal for the passage of an Executive Order that will serve as a stop-gap measure to proscribe contractualization until a new law amending the Labor Code is passed.

NAGKAISA further requested that the President certify as an urgent Administration measure House Bill No. 4444 (Rep. Raymond Mendoza, TUCP Partylist). HB 4444 seeks to prohibit all forms of short term employment contracts and the criminalization of such offense. ###

Nagkaisa statement on Dialogue with DOLE

The NAGKAISA labor coalition spoiled the premature celebrations of employers and contractors over reports that a new DOLE Department Order 168 was issued over the New Year which NAGKAISA feels essentially was a product of the proposed “win-win” solution proposed by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

NAGKAISA had launched mass actions and an appeal to President Duterte, to signal opposition to draft department orders circulating which apparently would allow an army of non-regular, contractor deployed “seasonal” & “project” workers to supplant the despised “endo” system of contractualization. President Duterte had made a campaign commitment to end contractualization which he reiterated in his year-end interview with media. NAGKAISA warned that the supposed DO would perpetuate the contractualization policy that the President promised would be stopped

Today DOLE senior officials led by Sec. Silvestre Bello announced to the convenors of the NAGKAISA that there is no Department Order. Bello said that he was willing to listen to the workers comments to craft a fresh DO. Bello directed all his Undersecretaries to come out with separate drafts and that this would then be consolidated by the DOLE to a version on January 13, which will be referred to the NATIONAL TRIPARTITE INDUSTRIAL PEACE COUNCIL. This will be subjected to Tripartite consultations and will be issued as DO 1, series of 2017 when approved.

NAGKAISA formally requested Sec. Bello to set up an audience with President Duterte where workers will appeal for passage of an Executive Order which will serve as a stop-gap measure to proscribe contractualization until a new law amending the Labor Code is passed. NAGKAISA further requested that the President certify as an urgent Administration measure House Bill no. 4444 “WORKERS BILL STRENGTHENING SECURITY OF TENURE” (Rep. Raymond Mendoza, TUCP Partylist). HB 4444 will prohibit all forms of short term employment contracts and criminalize it.

DO30 in Breach of DU30’s Campaign Promise, Workers’ Reiterate Call to End all Forms of Contractualization

End Endo, Not People's Lives

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President Duterte made these pledge before the Filipino people when he was campaigning for the Presidency:

“The moment I assume the Presidency, contractualization will stop. They have to stop it.”

“What I will do is call the Speaker and the Senate President after their elections and everybody, may constitution na doon, internal, then I will call on mostly the majority, mga Liberal congressmen, you pass this bill immediately. Senate, sabihin ko, I need it first week of my administration.”

And he stood firm and stubborn in pushing for this platform upon assumption to office, up to the point of threatening big companies to close their plants if they don’t comply.

“You will not just lose money, you will also lose pants. No tolerance ako dito, ito ang pangako ko sa tao. Stop contractualization. It will not do good to our country. Huwag na ninyong hintayin na mahuli kayo ni Sec. Bello. Kapag nalaman ko, I will simply close your plant and I can find a thousand reason to do it.

He even threatened to shot businessmen who practice endo or contractualization.

“I am warning you, you choose: stop contractualization or I will kill you. You know why… I am the President. I am here. I have immunity.”

Many people may have been accustomed to President Duterte’s use of hyperbole in driving a point. But for workers, the epidemic of contractualization has really gone out of proportion – a plague that warrants absolute containment in order to save the present and future generation of workers, the women and the youth.

Zero tolerance, therefore, is the correct and strategic policy change to pursue.

Now, is the impending issuance of Department Order No. 30 (DO30) in line with the early pronouncements of the President and in accordance with workers’ unanimous demand to end all forms of contractualization? NO!

DO30 falls short of what has been promised by DU30. It will only perpetuate contractualization. No wonder that the employers and the manning agencies are celebrating it!

Workers do not deserve this odious holiday and year-ender present from the government.

In digest, the new DO simply simulated in new fashion the framework of recognizing trilateral employment relations. It perpetuates the failed logic of regulation which, during the last several decades, has allowed and legitimized the business of labor contractualization done in many ways and in different forms.

This has to stop. The perpetuation of trilateral employment relation, which DO30 continues to recognize in the form of job/service contracting of specialized, project and seasonal jobs, is more of a system upgrade rather than a change in the policy itself. Hence, we denounce it as UNACCEPTABLE.

Ayaw namin ng mga middleman, sa anyo ng mga agency at cooperative, na ginagawang negosyo ang pangangalakal ng aming lakas paggawa. Nais namin ay DIRECT HIRING at ipagbawal ang FIXED-TERM employment.

Thus, if the President was really true to his campaign promise and to the commitment he made to end contractualization upon his assumption to office, we call on him to set aside DO30 for reasons cited above, notwithstanding its failure to secure acceptance from labor groups as well as endorsement from the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC).

We request that the President hold a personal dialogue with labor leaders to exchange ideas on how to really end endo. And in the meantime, in the absence of a new DO or a new law, the President should likewise consider issuing an Executive Order that expressly prohibits all forms of contractualization, or certify as an urgent administration measure the enactment of HB 4444 (Mendoza, TUCP PL) that seeks to prohibit and criminalize contractualization.

Matatapos na ang taong 2016 sa susunod na dalawang araw. Ang kontraktwalisasyon kailan pa ba magwawakas?