Hotel workers urge SC to review Dusit case en banc

Workers belonging to SENTRO marched to the Supreme Court today to urge Chief Justice Sereno to review the case En Banc and reverse the illogical and unjust labor jurisprudence which was found to be in violation of ILO Core Conventions.

While they laud the recent decisions of the Court, particularly on the PDAF and DAP, the workers also ask that the Chief Justice take a look at patently unjust decisions of the Court.

Dusit Hotel workers were deemed to have gone on strike in 2001 solely because some of them reported for work with shaved heads. The management had prevented from working not only those who shaved their heads, but also women union officers (none of whom shaved their heads) and members who did NOT shave their heads nor cut them short as well as male union officers who had long lost their hair due to the ravages of time.
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Peoples Action against the World Bank – Philippines

Manila –  This WB safeguard review started almost 3 years ago, but communities and organizations in the Philippines barely understand its process and contents. And to our knowledge, this is the first actual official interaction with Philippine organizations.  Yet, there has been too little time and lackluster effort to enable meaningful engagements.  Meanwhile, Southern and Northern organizations expressed their struggles and frustrations with the dismal handling of the Bank of the safeguards review over the past 2 years. The WB meetings last Oct. 8-11, 2014 in Washington DC was a clear reflection of peoples’ deep resentment over the poor consultation and bad safeguards draft. And here is the Bank doing a repeat of the same failures in running effective consultations: you give us too short notice to prepare and incomplete documents to consult. No draft business procedures, no implementation plan, no translations.

The affected communities and their support groups demand that the WB safeguard policies must be strengthened to ensure real protections for people and the planet. The draft does not promise to deliver that.

We are concerned that right now, Filipinos are not overcoming poverty, inequality and hunger are increasing, our natural resources are threatened by industrialization and extractive industries while labor rights are diluted or informalized. Contrary to the Bank’s rosy narratives of Philippine growth linked with its financing, this growth is widening inequality. Bank financing has not helped in preventing the intensified privatization of commons and has contributed to the systematic dismantling of essential public services. It has been muted in dealing with the discrimination against marginalized groups such as PWDs, IPs, children, and sexual minorities who are the most vulnerable sectors. They have been threatened by projects that were partly-funded by the World Bank Group. Remember the Manila Sewerage Project? Remember Chico dam in Cordillera? Remember IFC’s support to a mining project in the ancestral domain of the Mamanwas in CARAGA? In many instances, safeguards were useful in ensuring some basic minimum levels of protection were available.  But the Bank is moving to moving to eviscerate these basic human rights protections. You’re dumping people with more debts but you’re removing your environmental and human rights accountability.

We have watched with rising concern that your new “safeguard” proposals betray these expectations and represent the opposite.  In this process, we believe that the World Bank is stepping back on its promise to reduce poverty.

Instead of ensuring protection of vulnerable communities and the project affected people, your draft proposes dismantling of even existing protections that have been built over decades of hard work, hard won protections that people have fought and died for here in the Philippines, including social justice laws for indigenous peoples, environment, land reform and people’s participation in governance.

We cannot remain mute spectators of this regressive journey and must convey to you the rising frustration and anger amongst the many communities that are facing these impacts from Bank-supported projects, and also within many people’s movements and supporting civil society groups, networks and alliances from all over the Philippines.

Our colleagues have watched with growing dismay – the increasingly insensitive responses to the passionate appeals by cornered and distressed communities affected by bank supported projects.  I personally appealed that this consultation be re-scheduled to give time for communities and organizations to understand better the process and substance of the safeguards, but my appeal was rejected.

We are also alarmed by the rising talk of the Bank venturing into riskier investments, coming from as high positions as the WB President! Hundreds of indigenous peoples and forest dwellers organizations are terribly concerned with the proposed ‘opt out’ clause, and the dilution of protection hitherto given to biodiversity rich and protected areas.  You also propose to venture into uncharted territory of biodiversity offsets!  These are gambles more suited to a venture capital fund, not fit for a “Development Bank”, and the Filipinos cannot allow this to happen.

We, the dozens of people’s movements and organizations present here from all over the Philippines, and the many thousands we represent back from our communities, are rejecting this current draft of safeguards.  The protections you now seek to dismantle, the safeguards that we fought for over decades – do not belong to you, they are not yours to throw away, they belong to the world and its vulnerable people.

We are also aware of a handful of saner voices from within the bank, and urge them to fight inside the system, for protecting the very rights they themselves enjoy – also for the people and communities around the world facing potential threats from this proposed dilution of protections.  We strongly believe this protest action that we are compelled to take, will strengthen those voices and create a better environment for creating a really progressive safeguards policy.  This will be in the interest of the bank itself, as well as for the entire Philippines, and the rest of the world.

That is why we are forced to take this action now and join our partners in the protest outside.  Today we are going out of this consultation, to defend the safeguards and to stand with the World and against the Bank that is trying to destroy it!  We sincerely hope that this will help a better tomorrow, within & outside.

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Signatories:

AKBAYAN

Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA)

Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)

Bank Information Center (BIC)

DANGAL

Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)

NAGKAISA

NGO Forum on the ADB

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)

SANLAKAS

 

Solidarity Message to Kilus Magniniyog

Mga kasama naming magbubukid at aktibista sa Kilus Magniniyog:

Ang pamunuan at kasapian ng Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) – isang pambansang sentrong unyon ng mga manggagawa sa pribado, publiko, impormal at migranteng sektor, na inilunsad noong isang taon lang – ay mahigpit na kumakapit-bisig sa mga magsasaka’t manggagawa sa niyugan, sa pamumuno ng Kilusan para sa Ugnayan ng mga Samahang Magniniyog (Kilus Magniniyog). Sumasaludo kami at pumapalakpak sa inyong pambihirang pambansang martsa mula Davao at magwawakas dito sa Maynila sa Nobyembre 26 o tatagal ng 71 araw at sa layong 1,750 kilometro.

Sa partikular, buo ang paniniwala at suporta ng Sentro sa posisyon ng Kilus Magniniyog ukol sa Coconut Levy Fund – ang bilyun-bilyong pisong pondo mula sa kontribusyon sa loob ng ilang taon ng maliliit na mga magniniyog, ngunit kinamkam ng pangkating Marcos at patuloy pa ngayong pinagpapasasaan ng iilan. May nabawing P71 bilyon ang gobyerno noong 2012, matapos manalo ang ilang dekada nang kaso laban sa San Miguel Corp. (SMC), ang isa sa mga pinaglagakan ng kroni ni Marcos na si Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. ng mga pinaghirapang pera ng milyun-milyong magniniyog. Nagmula ang P71 bilyon ito sa 24% na sosyo sa Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) ng SMC, na idineklara ng Korte Suprema na “pag-aari ng pamahalaan na gagamitin para lamang sa kapakinabangan ng lahat ng mga magniniyog at para sa pagpapaunlad ng industriya ng niyugan.” Subalit nakatengga pa ang pondong ito, kung saan kaliwa’t kanang inaangkin ng mga may makasariling interes at nanganganib ding ilaan sa ibang programa ng gobyerno na hindi talaga para sa mga magniniyog o may sarili namang pondo. 

Sa gayon, kaisa ang Sentro sa matibay na panawagan ng Kilus para sa agaran, epektibo at bukas na paggamit ng nasabing pondo na direktang papakinabangan ng 3.5 milyong magniniyog sa Pilipinas. Panahon na upang tamasahin ng maliliit na magniniyog at ng kanilang mga pamilya at komunidad ang perang matiyaga nilang iniambag at masusing inipon at pinalago para sana makatulong sa pagtugon sa kanilang pangangailangan at sa kanilang kinabukasan – ngunit nanakawin lang pala at matagal pang maitatago’t pinakinabangan ng iilan.

Itataguyod din ng Sentro ang mga kampanya ng Kilus para presyurin ang paglalabas ng Malakanyang ng isang Executive Order na lilikha ng Perpetual Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund mula sa coco levy fund, at ang pagpapasa ng dalawang kapulungan ng Kongreso sa mga panukalang batas na magbubuo ng mas pangmatagalang Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund.

Nananawagan din ang Sentro sa iba pang samahan sa kilusang paggawa ng bansa na sumuporta sa labang ito ng mga magniniyog at ng Kilus – laluna dahil ang adhika nating ecologically sustainable agro-industrial development ay nakadepende sa pag-unlad ng kanayunan, na maaabot kung may tunay na asset reform. Matibay na katiyakan sa direksiyong ito ang kombersyon ng coco levy fund sa pangmatagalang coco farmers’ trust fund, na kontrolado at pinatatakbo ng mga magniniyog o kanilang mga samahan. Subalit dapat pangunahing kaagapay nito ang tunay na repormang agraryo para tuluyang matiyak ang “kalayaan” at kaunlaran ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa kanayunan, kaalinsabay ng “kalayaan” at kaunlaran din ng mga manggagawa sa kalunsuran.

 

 

Bawiin, ibalik ng buo ang ninakaw na Coconut Levy Fund!

Itatag at isabatas ang Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund!

Tunay – hindi patse-patse – na Repormang Agraryo ipatupad!

Mabuhay ang mga magniniyog at mga magsasaka’t manggagawang bukid!

Mabuhay ang kilusang magsasaka!

Mabuhay ang kilusang paggawa!

Labor group wants Petilla’s head for deceiving the Filipino people bigtime over so-called power crisis

A COALITION of 49 labor groups and workers’ organizations called Nagkaisa is demanding President Aquino to immediately fire Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla for deceiving the Filipino people with his manufactured power shortage scenario hitting the entire island of Luzon early 2015.

Officials of the Department of Energy admitted during a congressional hearing that the projected deficit in supply for the coming summer of 2015 is only about 21 to 31 MW, a far cry from the 1,200 MW shortfall trumpeted by Petilla.

“It is now very clear to us that Secretary Petilla took the country for a ride. He bluffed the president, the cabinet, the senators and the congressmen, the business sectors, the labor and consumer groups with his tall tales of thin power reserves to justify emergency powers that entails possible purchase of multi-billion peso generator sets. Mr. Petilla deliberately exposed the country to unnecessary jeopardy that has been discouraging job-creating investments away since he came out with his bogus story in July,” Josua Mata of Sentro-Nagkaisa, one of Nagkaisa convenors said reading Nagkaisa statement.

“This is a grave crime to the Filipino people. The only way for Secretary Petilla to redeem himself, after having been rebuffed by congressmen for his exaggerated numbers on the alleged looming power crisis, is to apologize to the people and submit an irrevocable resignation. If he doesn’t have the delicadeza to do so, we are demanding his head from the president. Either way, the Filipino people does not deserve a reprehensible nincompoop in government,” he added.

“Instead of asking congress to hastily grant him emergency powers, President Aquino should first kick his energy man out for his failure to lead a critical department of the executive,” Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson of Partido Manggagawa-Nagkaisa.

Fortaleza said Petilla’s main blunder is the absence of policy intervention and the heap of unsound options in addressing the looming power crisis.

Petilla has proposed costly lease agreements from independent power producers to fill up the capacity gap in two years. Another option was to top existing capacities from industries’ embedded generator sets under the Interruptible Load Program (ILP).

“Petilla must go not because power emergency is none existent but also because policy intervention is absent. The president must fire him for deceiving the entire nation including himself as the chief executive and his fellow members of the cabinet,” added Fortaleza.

Another convenor, Louie Corral, executive director of Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagakisa, explained that had the government acted as early as 2011, we could have started building new capacities by building new power plants; forced private power to rationalize their scheduled maintenance shutdowns; optimize the use of every plant especially hydro; and exercised strong regulatory powers to prevent market fraud.

Yet these options, Fortaleza said, can still be utilized right now as these powers are present under DOE’s mandate, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the Office of the President, and Congress under the Joint Congresional Power Commission (JCPC).

“The only time we will support emergency powers is when the government finally decides to take over the whole industry with the utmost objectives of bringing down the price and securing a sustainable power supply not only for present needs but also for the next generations to come,” concluded Corral.

The Nagkaisa is a coalition of labor unions and workers’ organizations who band together three years ago to advance security of tenure, reduce the price of electricity, empower public sector workers and improve workers living wage. The members of the coalition are the Alliance of Free Workers (AFW) All Filipino Workers Confederation (AFWC), Automobile Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA), Alab Katipunan, Association of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Associated Labor Unions- Association of Professional Supervisory Officers Technical Employees Union (ALU-APSOTEU), ALU-Metal, Associated Labor Unions-Philippine Seafarers’Union (ALU-PSU), ALU-Textile, ALU-Transport, Associated Labor Unions-Visayas Mindanao Confederation of Trade Unions (ALU-VIMCOMTU), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Association of Trade Unions (ATU), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU), Confederation of Labor and Allied Social Services (CLASS), Construction Workers Solidarity (CWS), Federation of Coca-Cola Unions (FCCU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Kapisanan ng Maralitang Obrero (KAMAO), Katipunan, Pambansang Kilusan sa Paggawa (KILUSAN), Kapisanan ng mga Kawani sa Koreo sa Pilipinas (KKKP), Labor education and Research Network (LEARN), League of Independent Bank Organizations (LIBO), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN), MARINO, National Association of Broadcast Unions (NABU), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Mines and Allied Workers Union (NAMAWU), National Association of Trade Unions (NATU), National Confederation of Labor (NCL), National Confederation of Transport Union (NCTU), National Union of Portworkers in the Philippines (NUPP), National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Pepsi Cola Employees Union of the Philippines (PEUP), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA), Pinag-isang Tinig at Lakas ng Anakpawis (PIGLAS), Philippine Integrated Industries Labor Union (PILLU), Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association (PIPSEA), Partido Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Metalworkers Alliance (PMA), Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Transport and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), SALIGAN, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Workers Solidarity Network (WSN).

Mode 4 and the Labor Rights of Migrant Workers

Migrant workers should be protected by labor laws of the host countries and must not be included in TISA or any free trade agreement. They are employees, not independent service-suppliers.

  1. Introduction

Mode 4 provisions under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)[1], under the services chapters of free trade agreements[2], including the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)[3], typically involve the movement of natural persons such as investors, intra-corporate transferees (managers, specialists, technical persons) and highly technical personnel such as those with expertise law, accounting, taxation, management consulting, engineering, computer, advertising, research and development services, translation services, higher education, architecture, and research and development, and the like.

One easily infers from the above enumeration that either these natural persons are trying to look for investment opportunities, or are providing highly-specialized, time-bound services. In neither case is any of them considered an employee. Hence, those deployed under Mode 4 who provide services by way of a contract for service do not expect any protection under the labor laws of the host country, and their contracts are instead governed by default contract laws.

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