Tag Archives: Federation of Free Workers (FFW)

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.

Except for Duterte, leading candidates for the presidential race signs contract to end contractualization

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Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe and Sec. Mar Roxas

Three days before the elections, three presidential candidates signed a contract with a coalition of labor federations and workers’ organizations calling for the repeal of the notorious and rampant contractual work scheme in the country.

“We have the signatures of Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, and Jejomar Binay conforming to workers’ clamor to repeal contractualization work scheme in the country. While only 3 of the 5 presidential candidates have formally signed our proposed ‘anti-endo contract,’ we are elated that ending contractualization work scheme is among the primary social issues that is being advocated by all the ‘presidentiables,’ which will influence the outcome of the May 9 national elections,” the NAGKAISA labor coalition said in its statement.

By affixing their signatures, the 3 candidates have signified their commitment to fight contractualization. “Regardless of who among them wins, the minority president has a binding agreement with the majority – the Filipino working people. NAGKAISA will engage the new leadership to ensure that she/he will live up to their promise to end Endo,” the group said.

Unfortunately, Rodrigo Duterte’ did not sign the document. “This puts into question his sincerity in fighting contractualization,” NAGKAISA said.

Also known as “endo” (end of contract) or “5-5-5” jobs, this contractual work arrangement is characterized by hiring employees for only five months without security of tenure, paid with unlawful wages and without social protection benefits and privileges compared to what regular workers receive.

Both Grace Poe and Jejomar Binay signed the agreement committing themselves to, “Certify as urgent and enact the Security of Tenure bills both for the private and the public sectors as championed in the outgoing 16th congress by Representatives Raymond Mendoza, Walden Bello and Leah Paquiz.”

Mar Roxas agreed to, “Certify as urgent and enact the Security of Tenure Bill to protect workers’ rights from unfair contractualization,” but added that he would “study and develop flexible and lawful work arrangements to adapt to the needs of employees and employers, thereby securing humane working conditions and encouraging the creation of jobs.”

The Security of Tenure Bill referred to has been languishing in Congress for more than a decade now.

NAGKAISA considers contractualization as a modern day work slavery whereby workers toil to enrich their employers but are paid with measly wages, without Social Security System (SSS), Philhealth and Pag-IBIG protection benefits, cramp in risky workplaces and without security of tenure.

Aside from ending contractualization, other issues presidential candidates have agreed with NAGKAISA are providing for living wage, ensuring quality public services, reforming workplace labor inspection, ensuring the working poor’s right to the city, realizing full employment before the end of six years, among others.

The NAGKAISA is a coalition of 49 labor centers, federations, and workers’ organizations including big labor groups such as the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), National Confederation of Labor (NCL), National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), Partido Manggagawa (PM) and Associated Labor Unions (ALU).

Labor groups call for thorough investigation on Valenzuela fire that killed dozens of workers

#Justice4KentexWorkers! Justice for the #72workers killed at the Kentex fire!
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A coalition of labor groups offered sympathies to the victims of a deadly fire in Valenzuela City as it called on concerned government agencies to conduct a fair, speedy but thorough investigation on this tragedy that caused death and injury to at least 60 workers.

“The high death toll from this inferno strongly indicates a complete breach of safety protocols required for industries. Life certainly matters, but justice for this kind of catastrophe goes beyond legally required compensation. Factory owners and industry regulators must be held criminally-liable for this tragedy,” said Renato Magtubo of Partido Manggagawa (PM), one of Nagkaisa! convenors.

Josua Mata of Sentro ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa (Sentro) suggested that investigations do not just determine the cause of fire but must dig deeper into why dozens of workers were fatally trapped in the second floor of the factory building.

“The country’s occupational safety and health standards (OSHS) do not only require workplaces to be safe from hazardous and flammable substances but also must be equipped with necessary infrastructures that address emergencies like contamination, fire or explosions,” said Mata.

PHOTO by RADYO INQUIRER 990AM/ERWIN AGUILON

PHOTO by RADYO INQUIRER 990AM/ERWIN AGUILON

Initial reports said the fire came from the stock of chemicals in the first floor of the building where a welding work is also being done.

Alan Tanjusay of ALU-TUCP, on his part, said: “this tragedy could have been prevented had government agencies, which include the labor department and local government units, strictly enforced the OSHS requirements in workplaces.”

Leody De Guzman of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) advised the families of victims of Valenzuela fire to organize themselves and press charges against the owners of the footwear company.

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) likewise called on concerned government agencies to extend the necessary financial and legal assistance to the victims.

The National Confederation of Labor (NCL) believed a substantial number of establishments all over the country are not compliant with occupational health safety standards because of corruption in government agencies.

Meanwhile Annie Geron of PSLINK, a confederation of public sector unions, bewailed the fact that quality public service, which include ensuring the safety of all workers at all times, remains missing or stuck in a state of downgraded priority in the government bureaucracy.

Unang araw ng pasukan ng 2015 sinalubong ng protesta ng manggagawa laban sa pagtaas ng pasahe sa MRT at LRT

Balik trabaho ang milyun-milyong manggagawa sa Kamaynilaan at kasabay nito, sinalubong naman ng protesta ng grupong Nagkaisa ang ipinapatupad na pagtaas ng pamasahe sa MRT at LRT.

Mahigit kalahati mula sa dating singil ang nadagdag sa pasahe sa MRT3 at LRT 1 & 2.

Pinangunahan ng Partido Manggagawa (PM), PALEA at Federation of Free Workers (FFW) ang protesta sa kabilang dulo ng MRT sa Pasay-Taft habang ang grupong Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa o Sentro, PSLINK, PM, at iba pang kasapi ng Nagkaisa sa dulong istasyon naman ng North Avenue sa Trinoma. Ang Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) naman ang nanguna sa Cubao station.

Bukod sa pagtuligsa sa ipinapatupad na pagtaas, hinihikayat din ng grupo ang kapwa manggagawa na personal na ipahayag ang kanilang protesta sa pamamagitan ng ibat-ibang paraan gaya ng ‘selfie’ at ‘groufie’, pagsali sa mga petisyon at pagsama mismo sa mga aksyon laban dito.

Tinututulan ng manggagawa ang pagtaas ng pamasahe sa MRT at LRT sa 4 na dahilan:

  •  Mahihirap na manggagawa ang nakikinabang sa subsidyo at murang pasahe sa MRT at LRT;
  •  Ang pagtaas ay hindi mapupunta sa maayos na serbisyo dahil nakalaan itong pambayad sa madaya ngunit garantisadong kita ng private concessionaire na MRTC;
  • Tinatanggal ng gubyerno ang subsidyo sa MRT at LRT pero nilalakihan naman nito ang travel budget ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan;
  • Ang fare hike ay insentibo sa pribatisasyon ng MRT at LRT.

Nanawagan ang Nagkaisa! sa Malacanang na bawiin ng desisyon sa dagdag na pasahe dahil ang rehabilitasyon nito ay pinondohan na sa loob ng 2015 National Budget.

Nagbabala pa ang grupo na lalo lang magagalit ang mananakay ng tren dahil wala silang makikitang pagbabago sa serbisyo nito sa kabila ng dagdag na singil.

Hindi aniya patas na maginhawa ang byahe ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan dahil sa lumalaking travel budget ng mga ito habang parusa ang pasalubong ng bagong taon sa milyun-milyong manggagawa.

Nagbabala rin ang grupo na maglulunsad pa ng mga susunod na protesta hangga’t hindi ito itinitigil ng pamahalaan.

 

Workers up against ‘assault on labor’ on first working day of 2015

notomrtlrtfarehike

Labor groups under the coalition Nagkaisa! are set to welcome the first working day of 2015 with a protest against what they consider as government’s assault on workers’ living condition – the implementation of fare hikes in the MRT and LRT system.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) proceeded with the implementation of the rate hike yesterday, amid oppositions from labor, commuter groups and legislators.

Based on surveys, lowly-paid workers and students make up the bulk of regular train riders.

Members of Partido Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) will be leading the protest at the MRT Pasay-Taft station while the Sentro ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa (SENTRO), Public Sevices Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), PM and other members of Nagkaisa are taking the MRT North Avenue station. The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) is taking the Cubao station.

Aside from the mass action, Nagkaisa! will be distributing leaflets explaining why commuters should reject the fire hike and how they can express their protest.

In opposing the fare hike Nagkaisa! contends that:

  • Fare hike is not meant for service upgrade but for debt payments to a private concessionaire;
  • Most of train riders belong to lowly-paid workers;
  • Government cutting MRT/LRT subsidy but hiking travel budget of public officials;
  • Fare hike is a move towards privatization

The group said commuters can express their opposition in various forms  including:

  • Making selfies or group pics holding mini posters and posting it on their social media accounts accompanied by #MRTprotest hashtag;
  • Joining online petitions addressed to the DOTC, Malacanang and Congress;
  • Seeking remedy from the courts; and
  • Joining scheduled mass actions

“The fare hike is the first oppressive policy of the year, the first assault by government on workers’ living condition.  Workers were first to pay their taxes but they were also the first to carry the burden of budget cuts and other unjust policies by government,” said PM spokesman Wilson Fortaleza.

He added: “Sa daang matuwid, manggagawa ang tinitipid.”

On his part PALEA President Gerry Rivera, lamented that while fares in other modes of transportation, including airlines, are dropping significantly because of the sharp drop in oil prices, but fares in the MRT and LRT are rising by as much as 87%.

SENTRO Secretary General and Nagkaisa! convenor Josua Mata said, “The true logic of removing the MRT subsidy is the government shifting to the role of shameless facilitator to the transfer of public money to private hands. In this particular case, the commuters subsidizing the guaranteed returns of private investors.”

The Nagkaisa in a series of dialogues with the President has called for a cost-effective and efficient mass transport system since the heavy traffic has been eating up a lot of productive hours of workers.

“The PNoy administration has not only failed to address the traffic mess, it is shamelessly adding a three-fold burden to workers who will have to shell out more for their own train fare and that of their children who go to school,” said Julius Cainglet of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW).

Organized labor opposes MRT/LRT rate hike

The country’s biggest labor coalition Nagkaisa is adding its voice to the growing opposition to the impending rate hikes in the metro rail transport system.

Josua Mata, Secretary General of Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa or Sentro and one of the convenors of Nagkaisa likened the plan to a “wrecking ball” that will smash the train riders en masse come 2015.

“The rate of every crushing ride in MRT and LRT will be rising at a time rates in other PUVs are falling because of plummeting prices of oil. The timing is not just bad. The policy itself is very bad, it’s anti-labor,” said Mata.

Mata said labor groups under Nagkaisa will be meeting after Christmas to come up with protest plans against the fare hike.

Majority of the city’s train riders belong to the working class. They are the ones who suffer the daily violence of riding an beyond-capacity and poorly maintained railway system.

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) likewise assailed the planned increase while workers wages stagnated to the barest minimum.

“We believe pulling money out of a worker’s pocket through a fare hike is an incentive to private concessionaires. We will gain nothing from it, not even improved services,” said FFW President Sonny Matula.

Another convenor, the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, bewailed the fare hike, saying it shows the government’s repeated blunders in running public utilities because of over-reliance to private concessionaires.

Again, this is another example of PNoy leading from the back. Over reliance on Cabinet Secretary Abaya who not only doesn’t get, but is nowhere to be seen and heard. Result: over reliance on a greedy, socially irresponsible private sector concessionaire. Same thing in power: no policy leadership, ergo emergency powers request by another lackey in the person of Petilla who is letting the private power sector dictate supply policy. We are at the not so tender mercy of a government that does not have regulatory balls,” said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of ALU-TUCP.

On his part, Partido Manggagawa (PM) spokesman Wilson Fortaleza argued that the government should rather increase, not remove, the subsidies being enjoyed by train riders and at the same time put more money in developing the country’s deteriorating mass transport system.

“To us, subsidizing at least 500 million rides of workers a year is more productive than subsidizing the comfortable travel of 500 VIPs in government,” said Fortaleza, adding that all taxpayers pay for at least P8-billion a year of travel subsidy for our public officials.

In 2012, some 219 million rides were recorded in MRT-3, with an average 600,000 daily passengers. LRT 1 and 2 have 241 million combined.

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).