Category Archives: Labor Standards

NAGKAISA and KMU call for scrapping of PNP’s ‘peace’ office in EcoZones

Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno deplore the creation and implementation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) of the Joint Industrial Peace and Coordination Office (JIPCO), which is intended to prevent so-called “radical union infiltration” in industrial zones in Central Luzon.

 

Since the explicit purpose of JIPCO is to stop the organizing of trade unions, this is clearly an institutional and government-led attack on workers’ right to organize.

There is no official definition of “radical unions” since there is no legal basis about it. The JIPCO will clearly be used by abusive PEZA locators as a tool against union organizing in general. By declaring any and all trade union organizing as being initiated by “radical unions” abusive PEZA locators will unfairly and immorally use government’s intelligence and security resources for surveillance and espionage against trade unions and workers, who are taxpayers. This misappropriates precious government resources to infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed workers’ right to organize.

Art. 256 (246) of the Labor Code speaks about ‘non abridgement of the right to self-organization, which states that:

“It shall be unlawful for any person to restrain, coerce, discriminate against or unduly interfere with employees and workers in their exercise of the right to self-organization. Such right shall include the right to form, join, or assist labor organizations for the purpose of collective bargaining through representatives of their own choosing and to engage in lawful concerted activities for the same purpose for their mutual aid and protection, subject to the provisions of Article 264 of this Code. (As amended by Batas Pambansa Bilang 70, May 1, 1980).”

KMU and Nagkaisa believe that an attack by PEZA and PNP against one union or their attempt to disrupt efforts to organize workers by any union is an attack to unionism altogether.

JIPCO will serve the aims of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. This poses a great danger to the lives and safety of union leaders and organizers as it further encourages irresponsible “red tagging” of the PNP that have compromised the basic rights and have cost the liberty of the people, and attacked legitimate organizations.

JIPCO, in preventing union organizing will lead to the suppression of workers’ right to redress and grievances; and workers’ demands for living wage, better benefits, and humane, safe and healthy workplaces.

JIPCO is in violation of International Labor Organization Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association (FOA) and collective bargaining.

The PNP, DILG and PEZA are committing grave abuse of authority with the creation of the JIPCO

At the stakeholders meeting today between and among the DOLE, trade unions, employers’ groups, PNP, PEZA, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Nagkaisa and KMU will therefore demand:

  1. The immediate abolition of JIPCO and rendering ineffective of the Memorandum of Agreement that created it
  2. Review of the PEZA AFP and PNP Guidelines on their conduct in EcoZones
  3. Review of AO 35 with the view of enhancing the role of workers
  4. Government’s acceptance of the ILO Tripartite High Level Mission that will look into the killings and harassment of trade union leaders and organizers; and violations of the provisions of ILO C. 87 and 98 and other FOA principles
  5. Conduct of FOA orientation sessions for key AFP and PNP officers and frontline personnel; and security guards

Labor group wary of RTWPB-XI motu proprio wage review

The labor coalition NAGKAISA-Davao cautions workers on the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-Region XI’s initiative to review and possibly raise the region’s minimum wage. “As in the past wage orders, the RTWPB-XI’s evaluation is most likely to end up giving loose change to workers,” said Sofriano “Ka Ondo” Mataro, spokesperson of Nagkaisa-Davao and regional head of ALU-TUCP.

TUCP has petitioned the regional wage board for a P104.00 across-the-board increase but the latter said that it has already initiated a motu proprio review of the existing minimum wage in the region in its meeting on January 17, 2018.

“We doubt that the wage review of RTWPB-XI is not prompted by DOLE Secretary Bello, who seems to be working in cahoots with the employers on the issue of contractualization. If not with TUCP’s petition in late March, we would not know that the regional wage board has taken the initiative to take a look at workers’ wages since January”, stated Joel Bañas, spokesperson and Chairperson of SENTRO Davao.

He further explained, “It’s already three months now and no labor group have been consulted and no public hearings were called to discuss the matter. If the regional wage board is talking to some groups, it is not the workers but the employers. Is the right of workers to be heard doesn’t matter nowadays?”

“Agravante said that the wage board has undertaken studies on the region’s economic conditions including the effects of the TRAIN Law, where are the results of these much-vaunted studies? What are its findings?” asks Remy Torres, spokesperson of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).

Remy Torres is referring to Raymundo Agravante, chairperson of RTWPB-XI and the regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment-Region XI.

“We need to raise workmen’s wages. The P104.00 petition of TUCP is not even enough to recover the lost purchasing power of the regional wage which is P132.70”, asserted Ka Ondo, spokesperson of the group and a convenor of Nagkaisa-Davao.

According to the website of NWPC (National Wages and Productivity Commission), the real value of the region’s minmum wage of P340.00 is a measly P207.30. ” And these figures are as of February 9, 2018. The impact of the excise and value-added taxes under the TRAIN Law is still not factored in”, he added.

The labor coalition alleged that workers are staggering from the effects of the TRAIN Law which inflated prices of basic commodities. The Philippine Statistics Authority confirmed this in an announcement recently that inflation in March 2018 surged to 4.3%.

The law lists ten criteria on which the wage board would base its decision in fixing wages. Among them were the rise in the cost of living, the purchasing power of the peso and workers’ demand for a raise. But Joel Bañas of SENTRO Davao claims, “Since its creation thirty years ago, the regional wage boards has only one consideration on issuing wage orders, which is the employers’ capacity to pay, forsaking the workers’ capacity to buy.”

WORKERS SLAM MASSIVE LAY-OFF OF 600 WORKERS IN COCA-COLA FEMSA PHILIPPINES INC.,

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – No less than 1,500 workers from the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions (FCCU-SENTRO/IUF) held a synchronized picket protest early this morning in Canlubang, Iligan, Iloilo, and other Coke bottling plants and offices condemning the sudden massive lay-off of 600 workers of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Inc., (CCFPI), the largest franchised bottler of Coca-Cola products in the Philippines.

According to a statement released by the FCCU-SENTRO/IUF, the retrenchment of these workers came without warning “while leaders of [of the union] were holding a meeting with the management of CCFPI” (habang nakikipag pulungan ang mga lider ng [unyon] sa management ng CCFPI). The union added that the company never informed the union that there will be changes in the business model of CCFPI, which, the company alleges, is the reason for the retrenchment.

Alfredo Maranon, National President of FCCU-SENTRO/IUF, states that the action of the CCFPI management violates the company’s obligations under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines as well as the UN Global Compact of which The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta is a signatory. According to these agreements, he adds, the company must hold talks with the union in order to “process the negative results on workers’ jobs and livelihood” (maagapan ang mga negatibong resulta sa trabaho at kabuhayan ng mga manggagawa).

The FCCU-SENTRO/IUF is set to hold more mobilizations until CCFPI heeds their demand to stop the termination of workers in the company and to sit down in a meeting with the union about the company’s restructuring program.– END

The FCCU-SENTRO/IUF is a member of the IUF Global Coca-Cola Workers’ Alliance, the Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at mgaProgresibongManggagawa (SENTRO), and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco, and Allied Workers’ Associations

Nagkaisa hails passage of Security of Tenure Bill

Labor Coalition Nagkaisa! is satisfied over the passage on third reading of HB 6908 on the Security of Tenure at the House of Representatives.

Nagkaisa! said that “the SOT bill is a great improvement to existing legislation as it gives more teeth to the government by providing penalties for those who will violate the security of tenure laws.”

“This is the farthest a proposed law on SOT has gone for decades,” said Nagkaisa! “Now, it’s time to get the Senate moving on their proposed SOT measure.”

“HB 6908 gives more flesh and blood to the guaranteed right to security of tenure,” Nagkaisa! said. “It’s not perfect or ideal, but we can live with it,” said Nagkaisa!, the largest labor coalition in the country.

Fear of employers allayed

Nagkaisa! also addressed fears of employers who went on record saying that they will have a “big problem” if the proposed measure was passed. “If the big problem employers have about HB 6908 refers to the potential cutbacks in the windfall of profits a number of employers have been amassing through the massive abuse of workers via contractualization for decades, the bill intends to do just that,” Nagkaisa! said. “Employers who do not abuse workers through contractualization have nothing to fear,” Nagkaisa! added.

“Never in the history of employment relationship in the country has workers enjoying regular employment and implementation of strict rules in labor contracting been detrimental to the economy and job generation,” Nagakaisa! said.

“Job generation is a function of the development of sectors of the economy influenced by economic policies of the government, and not by labor contracting practices,” Nagkaisa explained.

A “serious problem” employers noted is that if the SOT bill becomes a law, it will be detrimental to the economy and job creation. Nagksaisa! countered the argument. “Workers with regular employment generate more income, thus, with more purchasing power contribute to increasing demand in goods and services that lead to higher income taxes and VAT for the government. These are all good for the economy,” said Nagkaisa.

“The fear that the HB can lead to unemployment is only possible if they are not paying their contractual employees what the law currently demands. In other words, their argument is an admission that they are doing business at the expense of workers’ rights – and they want to continue doing so,” Nagkaisa! added.

The recent statement by the employers didn’t specify which provisions of the bill they strongly disagree with.

Nagkaisa! said it was grateful to Labor Committee Chair Rep. Randolph Ting who steered the discussions and Rep. Raymond Mendoza of TUCP Partylist and Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan Partylist who co-authored the SOT Bill and helped defend it together with Nagkaisa.