Thursday, March 15, 2018

Workers see eternal ‘kalbaryo’ with no E.O. or new law on ‘endo’

It has been two years when the campaign promise to end endo was made by President Duterte and workers have yet to see what this actual measure would be after all the country’s labor groups rejected the new rules (DO No. 174) issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in March of last year. 

“It should be in the form of an Executive Order (EO) or a new law that redefines existing rules that allow contractualization or a trilateral employment relation between labor and capital. Without it, employers and their middlemen labor contractors shall continue with their business of gaining profit from others’ labor,” declared Partido Manggagawa Chairman Renato Magtubo. 

PM, together with many other labor groups converged and marched to Malacanang this morning in protest over the repeated failure of the Duterte administration to fulfill its pledge to finally stop the plague of contractualization. 

“Nangako, umasa, nabokya.” This is how PM describes the two-year hiatus with the President’s failure to sign an EO that he promised during several dialogues with labor groups since Labor Day of last year. 

Today, March 15, was the latest extension requested by the President yet no EO has been signed. And prior to this deadline, the President made a policy statement where he asked for a compromise as he cannot force the capitalists to comply with the workers' demand. Also lately, the secretary of the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) made a pronouncement that contractualization is not unfair to workers. 
“Kaya naghihitsurang kalbaryo and dapat sana’y maluwalhating ending ng laban na ito. Kung walang EO o bagong batas para dito, mas malawakang pag-abswelto ito sa mga endolords,” lamented Magtubo. 

Organized labor has been pushing for its version of an EO that prohibits contractualization by making direct-hiring as the mode. The assailed DO 174 still allows agency-hiring or third party sub-contracting as long as they comply with capitalization requirements and do not engage in labor-only-contracting. 
Magtubo also deplored the blackmail being propagated by business groups that the labor-version EO would lead to massive job loss. 

“The availability of jobs does not depend on the ability of manpower agencies. There will be work as long as the job exists. What will be lost are the feudal form of ‘middleman’ industry being enjoyed by manning agencies and labor cooperatives. And that, for our millions of workers, is justice,” concluded Magtubo. ###

15 March 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Labor group slams Cebu ecozone company for unfair labor practice

Image result for kor landa cebu image 

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) lambasted a French-owned company in the Mactan Economic Zone (MEPZ) for its blatant interference in the union election conducted last week. After the end of work last March 6, the eve of the certification election at Kor Landa Corp., its workers were bussed from the factory, brought to a resort and were lectured overnight against voting for the union.

“The unfair labor practice of the Kor Landa management is a flagrant violation of the freedom of association of the women workers of the factory. It is ironic that as the nation celebrates Women’s Month, the mostly female workers of Kor Landa have been denied the right to have voice and representation,” stated Dennis Derige, PM-Cebu spokesperson.

Kor Landa is a jewelry accessories assembler at MEPZ I in Lapu-Lapu City with some 307 workers. Derige related that after the end of the work shift, around 5:30 to 6:00 pm on March 6, the non-union workers were not allowed to go home and were held inside the company premises.

“Upon the orders of Kor Landa’s French owners, Amaury and Manuelle Christine, and company lawyer Atty. Go, the workers were herded to a car, a red multi-cab and four vans with plate numbers AFF 1359, 4844 and 503. The union officers tried to follow the vans but eventually lost track of the vehicles ferrying the workers. The union later learned that the workers were forced to listen to anti-union speeches for the whole night. All the workers were then brought back to the factory the next day in time for the certification election,” Derige explained.

In the certification elections held by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Kor Landa Labor Union-PIGLAS, brought the incident to the attention of the election officer and asked for postponement. After the request for postponement was denied, the union filed a protest and walked out of the proceedings. The case is presently pending at the DOLE-Region VII.

Derige averred that “This is certainly not the first time that such a tactic—abducting workers before a scheduled certification election and forcing them to listen to anti-union lectures—was employed by locators at MEPZ. But by exposing this brazen interference at Kor Landa, we hope that it will be the last time so that workers can exercise the freedom to unionize and thereby improve their working conditions.”

Derige is calling on DOLE-Region VII to uphold the right to unionize of Kor Landa workers and hold another certification election.

March 13, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Women labor leaders urge Congress to pass the 100-Day Expanded Maternity Leave bill

Women labor leaders are urging the leadership and members of House of Representatives to pass the Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) bill before the Women’s Month ends and Congress goes on recess on March 22.

"It's about time that women workers enjoy this rightful benefit,” declared Judy Ann Miranda, Nagkaisa-Women spokesperson. 

Miranda, who is also the Secretary-General of Partido Manggagawa (PM), explained that the Philippines lags behind its ASEAN neighbors when it comes to protecting its mothers and their children. 

Vietnam provides 120-180 days of maternity leave depending on the working conditions and nature of work. Singapore provides 112 days while Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand surpassed ours with 84 days of paid maternity leave.   Likewise, a minimum of 98 days is prescribed under Convention 183 of the International Labor Organization (ILO). 

“Our current maternity leave law provides only for a 60-day leave which is inadequate and not even at par with international and regional standards,” said Miranda. 

The last time the number of paid maternity leave days was adjusted was in 1992. “The 100-day EML is therefore an improvement to say the least but women workers will never forget the fact that for over a quarter of a century, they were denied this necessary adjustment,” added Miranda. 

For Jessica de Ocampo of Workers4EML and Secretary-General of the Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. Labor Union (PMFTCLU), working mothers need to spend more TIME with their children to ensure that they receive optimum care. 

“Infants during the first six months of their lives should be fed with breast milk exclusively but the present law provides only for 60 days of maternity leave for normal delivery and 78 days for those who have undergone Caesarian operations. As it is, women workers are being asked to report back to work between two months or two and a half months from delivery,” said Ocampo. 

Reporting back to work that early, according to Ocampo, puts the health of mothers at risk and lessens the chances of working mothers to exclusively feed their children with breast milk. 

The proposed legislation also provides women with more relief in taking care of their babies in their first few months since even without an additional paternity leave, women can apportion some of their 100 days EML to their husband, partners or any other kin who would help them take care of their child. 

"Over the past decades, more and more women have entered the labor force. Yet as they take on more paid work, their reproductive and domestic role as primary care providers for their children and the rest of the family has not changed. This proposal is progressive as women will be able to share the responsibility of infant care with their significant other or relative,” said Ocampo.

Furthermore, according to Annie Geron, President of the Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLink), more than half of public sector employees are women and they are predominant in essential care and social services like health and education. 

“Amid the rising expectations and mounting needs of the public for women workforce in frontline services, the EML will now ensure the health and well being of our women workers to enable them to deliver quality public services. EML is long over due and it is a just social investment not only for women but also for the present and future generation,” said Geron. 

Finally, the Nagkaisa! Labor coalition expressed appreciation on the efforts of Congresswoman Bernadette Herrera Dy, chairperson of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality and for the authors of the said bill for their commitment to have the bill passed. 

The group now urges the House leadership to ensure its passage before they go into a Lenten break week.

Nagkaisa! and Workers4EML
March 12, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Media Advisory: Women workers join nationwide International Women's Day rallies

Partido Manggagawa - Women Committee
08 March 2018
Contact: Judy Miranda

Women workers under Partido Manggagawa to join International Women’s Day actions, today, March 08, 2018 in the following areas: 

Manila 8:00 AM
Joining World March of Women 


There will be two converging points – UST and Plaza Miranda.
The UST contingent will be marching towards Plaza Miranda. 

Bacolod City
Partido Manggagawa

9:00 AM – Forum on Charter Change and TRAIN
2:00 PM – Rally in front of Bacolod Market 
Cebu City
Joining Cebu Citizens Assembly

8:00 AM – Rally at Colon 

Davao City
Led by Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa and PM

8:00 AM – Rally at Orcollo Park

Iligan City
Joining the City Parade in the morning. 
Bringing issues of endo and expanded maternity leave.

Friday, March 2, 2018

DTI should impose its weight against rising inflation, not on labor

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should impose its weight against rising inflation rather than keeping the labor price low under the policy of contractualization. 

The DTI has always been on the side of business, thus, when Secretary Ramon Lopez stated that contractualization “is not unfair to workers” he was essentially parroting the line of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) whose bottom line position on this issue is to keep the price of labor low to remain competitive. For DTI and ECOP, the best way to keep the price tag of labor low is to keep contractualization as the prevailing policy of the Duterte administration. 

The labor movement has repeatedly rejected the “win-win” formula of DTI and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Our bottom line is change: Direct hiring must be the new policy. This is the only way workers can actually enjoy their constitutional right to security of tenure. The DTI and DOLE position is for workers to enjoy security of tenure in their respective manning agencies and not in their principal employers as contained under Department Order 174 of DOLE. This “win-win solution” has led to a farcical situation where majority of the more than 45,000 workers reportedly “regularized” under DO 174 last year now find themselves “regularly employed” by agencies and not by the principal.  The rule should be, as its name denotes, manpower agencies and other service providers should merely be treated as agents of the principals. 

This is the main reason why we have been pushing for an Executive Order to correct this distortion and rectify decades of injustice imposed upon millions of workers. The Labor Secretary, and in this particular case, the President, can prohibit contractualizaton under the Labor Code. 

Section 2 of the labor-proposed EO provides relief for this impasse as it states that: “Contracting or subcontracting when undertaken to circumvent the worker’s rights to security of tenure, self-organization and collective bargaining and peaceful concerted activities pursuant to the 1987 Philippine Constitution is hereby strictly prohibitedSecurity of tenure refers to the direct hiring relationship between the principal employer and employee.” 

Contractualization under the proposed EO is still recognized. Only that the types of job that can be contracted out be done upon consultation with members of the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC).  What the DTI wants is to perpetuate the norm of contracting out almost all jobs in the guise of management’s exercise of their prerogative. This regime, for over two decades, led to a dramatic change in employment relations, with “middlemen employers” such as manning agencies and “labor cooperatives” dominating the trade. 

This norm also has dissipated almost all rights guaranteed to workers by the constitution and labor laws, from security of tenure, right to organize, collectively bargain and to strike in accordance with law, and to be represented in the formulation of policies affecting their welfare. 

Again, to DTI: Contractualization is not unfair to workers? It seems like this agency is now headed by a feudal lord. 

Trading workers through manpower agencies who act as middlemen in a trilateral employment relationship is feudalism, which is clearly unjust. For more than two decades, this re-feudalization of labor has become the norm and keeping the policy will perpetuate this abominable condition of poverty and inequality amid economic growth. 

Hence, when we stated that the buck stops now with the President, it is because we believe the impasse can be resolve in favor of justice. It’s either change as promised by the President, or business-as-usual as demanded by ECOP.

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
02 March 2018