Sunday, March 7, 2021

Women riders naglunsad ng unity ride laban sa diskriminasyon sa lansangan, trabaho at lipunan

 


Sa unang pagkakataon ay nagsagawa ng unity ride ang mga riders na kababaihan laban sa diskriminasyon na laganap pa rin umanong nararanasan ng kababaihan partikular sa lansangan, trabaho at sa buong lipunan.

Itinaon ang kanilang unity ride na may temang “Women Can Ride” sa bisperas ng pagdiriwang ng Pandaigdigang Araw ng Kaibabaihan.

Nagsimula ang unity ride Linggo ng umaga, Marso 7, sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at nagtapos sa People Power Monument sa Edsa. Pinangunahan ito ng Women’s Collective ng grupong Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong o KaGulong.

Ayon kay Jonalyn Batugon, tagapagsalita ng Women’s Collective ng KaGulong, layunin ng kanilang unity ride ang ipahayag ang damdamin ng kababaihang riders sa nararanasan nilang diskriminasyon sa kalsada, sa trabaho, at sa buong lipunan at hilingin sa pamahalaan ang angkop na mga patakaran upang ito ay maibsan.

“Nagmamaneho kami ng motor, o bisekleta. O kaya ay nakaangkas sa aming mga mister o partner para makarating sa trabaho, makapunta sa palengke o saan mang lugar para sa maraming bagay at pangangailangan. Women rider kami, at katulad din ng kalalakihang riders na kalakhan ay manggagawa, nakikipagsapalaran din kami sa mapanganib na lansangan habang nilalabanan ang kahirapan,” pahayag ni Batugon.

Kapansin-pansin na bago pa man magkaroon ng pandemya ay dumarami na ang kababaihang riders at ang paliwanag dito ng KaGulong ay dahil ito sa malubhang krisis sa pampublikong transportasyon, di sapat na sweldo ng manggagawa, mahal na presyo ng mga bilihin, at kakulangan ng trabaho at hanapbuhay sa bansa.

“Mas matipid kaysa sa mamasahe, iwas-balyahan, at iwas-trapik ang pagmomotor. Nakakapag-enjoy pa sa ride kung may pagkakataon. Marami na rin sa amin ay nasa paghahanapbuhay gamit ang motorsiklo,” paliwanag ni Batugon.

Sinabi pa ni Batugon na nararanasan umano nila ang diskriminasyon sa kalsada sa harap ng mga macho at bastos na traffic enforcers, sa kapwa riders, at maging sa mga nakasakay sa apat na gulong. Sa trabaho naman ay marami nang uri ng diskriminasyon ang aming nararanasan tulad ng pahirapan sa hiring at paunahan naman sa tanggalan sa panahon ng krisis katulad ngayon.

“Sa loob ng bahay, ang mga women rider ay gumagampan ng tradisyunal na papel ng babae bilang nanay, yaya, at ngayon ay titser sa mga anak sa offline na pag-aaral,” pagtatapos ni Batugon.

Ang KaGulong ay isang rights-based na samahan ng mga riders kung kayat sa loob ng hanay nito ay nagtayo ito ng Women’s Collective upang harapin ang problema ng diskriminasyon sa kababaihan sa loob at labas ng samahan.

Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong
KaGulong

07 March 2021

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Hit hardest by the pandemic, women workers call for 'ayuda', jobs, and protection of labor rights


Mass layoff and income losses continue to mount despite the easing of restrictions and the initial rollout of vaccination. Needless to say, the combination of health, economic, and education crises one year under the pandemic is hitting women the hardest when they assumed added burdens as confirmed in several studies.

It is for this reason that members of the Nagkaisa labor coalition were demanding another round of ‘ayuda’ or income support, public employment program, and the protection of labor rights as the group kicks off with its celebration of the women’s month with a rally Thursday at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“Isang taon na ang pandemya pero two months lang ang ayuda sa manggagawa. At dahil walang dagdag na ayuda at bagong trabaho, parami pa ng parami ang nagugutom at ang ekonomiya ay hindi rin makabangon. Sa gitna ng kapabayaang ito ng gubyerno ay ang walang kaparis na sakripisyo ng kababaihan bilang breadwinner, caregiver, nanay, at titser,” said Judy Miranda, head of the coalition’s women’s committee and also the secretary general of Partido Manggagawa (PM).

Joining the DOLE action, Miranda said, were women workers who lost their jobs from the continuing company retrenchments, and those who have pending cases before the labor department over illegal dismissals, union-busting, unpaid wages, 13th month, and separation pay, among others.

A scheduled dialogue with the DOLE right after the rally may give workers from the export zones in Cavite, Laguna, Cebu, as well as the teaching and non-teaching personnel in private universities, a chance to seek immediate resolution of their cases and concerns pending before the department which they accuse of imposing social-distancing with the workers.

And as tensions rise between workers and employers due to this lingering crisis, workplace and domestic violence become common, further victimizing women in varying degrees, thus, the workers’ demand for the immediate ratification of ILO’s Convention 190.

“At a time when misogyny is now being normalized in various ways, ILO Convention 190 is precisely what we need today,” said Nice Coronacion, Deputy Secretary General of the Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro). Women workers were also demanding full protection of their rights as more employers resorted to imposing austerity and anti-union schemes, including union-busting.

"Using the pandemic as an excuse, Provision Gloves Apparel closed its factory in Batangas, only to find out that their main factory remains in operation, under a different name. Management is busting our union and avoiding collective bargaining. This should stop," said Jessica Guerrero, PGA Union-FFW president said.

For her part, Annie Geron, President of the Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), argued that quality public service requires a healthy and well-protected workforce both in the frontlines and administrative functions.

“Quality evades public service when bosses at the top are also the ones who deny their workers’ the right to form unions and bargain for better working conditions,” said Geron, referring to how senior government officials suppress unionization efforts of their rank-and-file members.

NAGKAISA  Labor Coalition-Women’s Committee

4 March 2021

Friday, February 26, 2021

Riders group asks DOLE to formulate rules protecting the rights of gig workers


The riders’ group Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong (Kagulong) on Friday asked the Department of Labor and employment to start formulating, in consultation with riders/drivers, labor groups and other stakeholders, rules on digital based labor platform to protect the rights of gig workers and promote their better working conditions.

The call was made in view of the latest report (World Employment Outlook) published by the International Labor Organization (ILO) which placed the Philippines second to India in terms of volume of outsourced jobs performed by workers in digital labor platforms in developing countries.

Said outsourced jobs come mostly from Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“Our group is very much mindful of this development since many of our members are into this work or have been engaged with many of these digital platform jobs. Thus, we are aware of their stories, income opportunities, as well as the hazards of being self-employed and freelancers in the company-controlled platform,” said Kagulong in a statement sent to the media.

The ILO noted that app-based or online jobs could have increased during the pandemic when people seek available employment online. But having this kind of job, said the ILO exposes workers to substandard working conditions, such as having irregular work and income.

“Half of online platform workers earn less than US$2 per hour. In addition, some platforms have significant gender pay gaps,” ILO said, adding gig workers also suffer from lack of access to social protection, freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, as well as long and unpredictable working hours.

The ILO attributed these problems to the terms and service agreement of online job platforms, which it noted is “blurring the previously clear distinction between employees and the self-employed.”

Kagulong completely agrees with the ILO findings, saying that in one food delivery company, bookings, and dispatches are completely controlled forcing riders under time pressure to face road hazards. There is also a case now where an LGU requires self-employed drivers to apply for business permits before they can be allowed to hit the road and use the platform.

“There are mounting issues that need to be addressed in this rapidly growing industry and it is very disappointing to see workers in modern digital platforms perform jobs under substandard if not inhumane conditions,” lamented Kagulong.

The group said it is the duty of the government, specifically DOLE, to protect workers in this sector by coming up with rules defined through negotiations between labor and employers in contrast to the app-based rules imposed arbitrarily by industry owners.

Riders of Food Panda has brought their issues before the DOLE in November last year, but the management reportedly refuses to attend a scheduled conference.

Earlier this week Kagulong greeted with enthusiasm the British Supreme Court’s decision declaring Uber drivers as workers. The landmark decision has finally settled a legal battle between the giant ride hailing up and two of its workers who brought the issue before the court in 2016 on whether they should be treated as workers of the company or as self-employed.

According to a BBC news, the British Supreme Court considered several elements in its judgement:
1. Uber set the fare which meant that they dictated how much drivers could earn
2. Uber set the contract terms and drivers had no say in them
3. Request for rides is constrained by Uber who can penalise drivers if they reject too many rides
4. Uber monitors a driver's service through the star rating and has the capacity to terminate the relationship if after repeated warnings this does not improve

As an organized rights-based riding community, Kagulong has been receiving complaints from fellow riders working in different companies. Common among these complaints, similar to what the Court has resolved, is their imposed status as “independent contractors,” and the way hailing app exercises control over the performance of their jobs.

Kagulong called on riders/drivers from different companies to welcome this decision and organize themselves into a union or workers’ association to be able to defend their rights and secure better working conditions in the gig economy

Kagulong

26 February 2021

Monday, February 22, 2021

“Uber drivers are workers”: Riders group welcomes British SC decision on gig workers


The riders’ group Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong (Kagulong) greeted with enthusiasm the British Supreme Court’s decision declaring Uber drivers as workers. The landmark decision has finally settled a legal battle between the giant ride hailing up and two of its workers who brought the issue before the courts in 2016 on whether they should be treated as workers of the company or self-employed. 


Uber is also facing similar complaints in many other countries.


The Court declared, as reported in British newspapers, that Uber drivers are workers “the moment they log-on until they log-off the Uber app.” Therefore, as workers, they are entitled to at least the minimum wage, holiday pay and other benefits due for regular workers. 


“Nakasisiya ang desisyon para sa aming mga manggagawang riders. Sa wakas ay mayroon nang jurisprudence sa isyung ito ng mga tinatawag na gig economy workers na maaring paghalawan ng mga korte ng iba’t-ibang bansa katulad ng Pilipinas,” stated Kagulong spokesman Robert Perillo.


Perillo, who is also the President of the Bulacan Motorcycle Riders Confederation (BMRF), said many of their members are working as riders/drivers in may app-based logistics services, thus, the legal resolution on their employment status is the first important step in promoting and protecting the gig economy workers’ basic rights and better working conditions.


According to BBC news, the court considered several elements in its judgement:

- Uber set the fare which meant that they dictated how much drivers could earn

- Uber set the contract terms and drivers had no say in them

- Request for rides is constrained by Uber who can penalise drivers if they reject too many rides

- Uber monitors a driver's service through the star rating and has the capacity to terminate the relationship if after repeated warnings this does not improve


As an organized rights-based riding community, Kagulong has been receiving complaints from fellow riders working in different companies. Common among these complaints, similar to what the Court has resolved, is their imposed status as “independent contractors,” and the way hailing app exercises control over the performance of their jobs. 


“Ngayong may batas na maari nang pagbasehan, wala nang dahilan ang ating mga ahensya tulad ng DOLE na sabihing hindi maaring harapin ang ilang isyu na nakahapag dito tulad ng reklamo ng mga manggagawa sa Food Panda na hindi pa hinaharap ng management sa dayalogo," explained Perillo.


Kagulong called on riders/drivers from different companies to welcome this decision and organize themselves into a union or workers’ association to be able to defend their rights and secure better working conditions in the gig economy. 


Kagulong

22 February 2021

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Labor group slams PEZA and PNP for JIPCO IRR

 

The labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) slammed the signing of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) between the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority last Monday.

 

“The signing of IRR of the JIPCO between the PNP and PEZA will mean further militarization of ecozones, harassment of labor unionists and escalation of the union busting. As far as workers are concerned, police presence in the ecozones has been to harass labor protests, disperse picketlines and arrest organizers,” stated Rene Magtubo, Partido Manggagawa (PM) national chair.

 

He added “The hugot line about forming JIPCO and sending police to the ecozones as mechanisms to promote industrial peace is just doublespeak. It is no different from the lie about police rescuing lumad children in the bakwit school in Cebu and police killing nanlaban suspected drug addicts.”

 

PM, a member of the country’s biggest labor coalition Nagkaisa!, had earlier demanded that the PNP and PEZA withdraw the program, and for DOLE to enforce labor laws in ecozones, educate officials of the bureaucracy and security forces on labor rights, and prosecute the violators whether they are state officials or owners of capital. In fact, almost exactly a year ago today, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello already wrote to both the PNP Chief and the PEZA Director General to express concern about the formation of the JIPCO in Central Luzon.

 

Magtubo cited a series of PNP and PEZA collaboration in suppressing workers’ activities within the last year or so. First, the arrest by the Cebu PNP of five labor organizers and their dispersal of a rally of retrenched workers of First Glory at the gate of the Mactan ecozone last November 30. Second, the dispersal of the picketline of workers of Sejung Apparel in the First Cavite Industrial Estate by Dasmarinas police together with security guards and barangay tanods for allegedly violating quarantine rules. The dispersal happened in the dead of the night during Black Friday of 2020. Finally, soldiers and police harassed union leaders, sent threatening letters to labor organizers and held anti-union meetings with workers of the FCF Manufacturing Corp., a factory in the Freeport Area of Bataan that makes high-end leather bags.

 

He reminded the PNP and PEZA that under the law, even employers who own the businesses and exercise direct control over their workforce are considered as mere bystanders, meaning they cannot interfere in labor activities, particularly on the right of workers to form unions as provided under the Bill of Rights and the Social Justice provisions of the Constitution. “If employers are mere bystanders in workers’ exercise of their labor rights, more so the PNP and PEZA,” Magtubo insisted.

 

He concluded that “JIPCO is hiding under the cover of peace building efforts but in reality, it is a declaration of war against the trade union movement in the country. But we will not be cowed and we will continue to organize.” 

February 17, 2021