Wednesday, September 20, 2017

SLEX workers protest mass termination


Some 50 toll employees of SLEX together and their supporters are holding a protest this afternoon in Laguna. The National Mediation and Conciliation Board regional office in Laguna is convening a hearing today due to workers of complaint of illegal dismissal.

Some 90 employees of the San Miguel Corp.-owned Manila Toll Expressway System, Inc. (MATES) are to be terminated en masse this month but are to be transferred to an outsourcing agency called PITC. Workers are alleging that the the scheme is a union busting and job contractualization manuever.

Randy Tuason, a leader of the MATES workers, declared that "We are demanding that workers be absorbed as regular employees in PITC and that the union also be recognized. It is utterly unfair to be demoted as probationary employees in an agency when we have worked as toll employees for years already."

The affected employees work the tolls from Alabang to Calamba, Laguna and onto Sto. Tomas, Batangas. A union was formed and certified as a bargaining agent just a few months ago.

In the first mediation hearing last week, no agreement was reached. MATES-SLEX said that they will consider the demand of the workers for absorption as regular employees. Workers also picketed the mediation hearing.

Rene Magtubo, chair of the militant group Partido Manggagawa, which is assisting the MATES workers, said that “Ending endo was supposed to be a policy shift of this administration. President Duterte kept repeating in dialogues with labor leaders that he wants to stop the prevalent practice of workers being transferred to agencies instead being hired as regular workers in principal companies. So why is this being allowed at SLEX?”

“If this is allowed at MATES-SLEX then it will be followed in other toll roads. Instead of toll payment interconnection as announced a few days ago, we will have rampant contractualization in the expressways. We call on the DOLE to intervene in this issue,” he added.


Photos of SLEX workers picket last week can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/partidomanggagawa/posts/10155612446129323

September 20, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Advisory: Workers to protest contractualization in SLEX

Media Advisory
September 20, 2017
Partido Manggagawa
Contact Randy Tuazon @ 09551488957

Workers to protest contractualization in SLEX

What: Some 50 workers to picket-protest during mediation meeting

When: Today, September 20 (Wednesday), 1:00 pm

Where: DOLE-NCMB Laguna, Regon and Sons Building (along Canlubang-Mayapa Cadre Road, 100 meters from Checkpoint Mall, Calamba; from SLEX exit at Canlubang then proceed along Mayapa Cadre Road)

Details:
Some 90 employees of the San Miguel Corp.-owned Manila Toll Expressway System, Inc. (MATES) are to be terminated en masse this month but are to be transferred to an outsourcing agency called PITC. Workers are alleging that the the scheme is a union busting and job contractualization manuever.

The affected employees work the tolls from Alabang to Calamba, Laguna and onto Sto. Tomas, Batangas. A union was formed and certified as a bargaining agent just a few months ago.

Scores of workers picketed the mediation hearing last week and will hold another protest to coincide with another meeting on Wednesday.

Randy Tuason, a leader of the MATES workers, declared that "We are demanding that workers be absorbed as regular employees in PITC and that the union also be recognized."

Rene Magtubo, chair of the militant group Partido Manggagawa, which is assisting the MATES workers, said that “Ending endo was supposed to be a policy shift of this administration. President Duterte kept repeating in dialogues with labor leaders that he wants to stop the prevalent practice of workers being transferred to agencies instead being hired as regular workers in principal companies. So why is this being allowed at SLEX?”

“If this is allowed at MATES-SLEX then it will be followed in other toll roads. Instead of toll payment interconnection as announced a few days ago, we will have rampant contractualization in the expressways. We call on the DOLE to intervene in this issue,” he added. ###

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Workers protest shutdown of garments supplier to Costco and Disney


Workers of a Philippine garments factory supplying to Costco, Disney and Korean brands started protests today against a planned shutdown. The factory Sein Together Philippines will close temporarily for one month by end of September due to alleged lack of orders. However, the workers charge that the orders are being shifted to other factories and the shutdown is meant to harass union members into accepting separation.

In a memo announcing the shutdown, management also offered separation to workers. Since then, workers have observed bundles of textile being trucked out of the Sein Together warehouse. It is suspected that the raw materials and the orders have been shifted to  Sein Together’s sister company S&S and another Korean-owned factory called Do First.

The illegal shutdown is just the latest in a series of attempts by management to subvert the workers’ freedom of association. When the union was formed early this year, suspected leaders were transferred to a single production line to separate them from other workers. Then the factory was also closed temporarily in April. Management personnel started a whispering campaign that the factory will close down if the union proceeds. Management further convened several meetings of workers to discuss the alleged drawbacks of a union.

The workers union of Sein Together has filed a complaint at the Labor Department for illegal shutdown. The company did not attend the hearing called by the Labor Department last Monday. To coincide with another hearing today, workers are wearing red ribbons to symbolize their opposition to the planned shutdown and union repression. The union is calling on the company to stop transferring the orders to other factories and to remain in operation.


Sein Together Philippines is located in the Cavite Economic Zone. It is a subsidiary of the Korean apparel company Sein Together Co. Ltd. Aside from Costco and Disney, Sein Together Philippines also supplies to Crocodile and Korean brands Homeplus, Daiz and Jaju. ###

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

It is the 119 robots in Congress that deserve a P1,000 budget


Robots are non-humans and therefore have no human rights. Congress has 119 of them and a P1,000 budget could be more than enough for their minimal upkeep. Human rights workers are people who deserve to live a life of dignity as well as a safe and sympathetic environment.
 
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) works for the protection and promotion of human rights. The CHR, according to one of its mandates, should work closely with Congress “to recommend effective measures to promote human rights and to provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families.” On the other hand, the function of the members of the House of Representatives (HOR) is to enact law and must uphold the law with highest integrity and standard.
 
The HOR and CHR therefore, as their mandates dictate, must work hand in hand for the protection and promotion of human rights, not the other way around.  Providing the CHR with a PhP1,000 budget based on flimsy reasons and alternative facts can only be described as an act of bigots and dishonourable men, so shameful that a total of 119 robots were successfully assembled by Speaker Alvarez to kill the right of the CHR and its workers to exist. It is a clear case of Congress’ power of the purse being used as a political tool to impose authoritarian rule.
 
This, to us, is the lowest act of the lowest kind of people in Congress who do not understand or who will never understand the universal concept of human rights. We likewise believe that the HOR leadership do not act alone in this respect as they clearly are in line with the President’s outspoken distaste of human rights.
 
Furthermore, this despicable action of Congress against the CHR, NCIP and ERC can also be deemed as anti-labor since most of the agencies’ budgets go to wages and benefits as well as the operations of their personnel. This is tantamount to constructive dismissal or political persecution at worst. In fact, this is an illegal act that warrants court actions.
 
If Congress can happily grant Mocha Uson a P106,454 monthly compensation for spreading fake news and performing live shows in the side lines, why punish human rights workers who are performing their jobs better under any administration?

13 September 2017

Labor party calls for shorter not compressed workweek

Photo from Philippine Star

The Partido Manggagawa (PM) today declared its opposition to the proposed bill on compressed workweek as it called the proposal a “scheme to overwork and underpay workers.” Instead, PM is calling for legislating a shorter work day.

Members of PM joined the labor group Sentro in a picket at the Senate this morning to coincide with a hearing on proposed bill. The bill providing for a compressed workweek passed the House of Representatives on third and final reading last August 24.

“Legislating the compressed workweek will lead to the derogation if not destruction of the historic eight-hour work day. Instead of lengthening the working day, it should be shortened without lost of pay for workers. The compressed workweek will lead to health and safety issues while shortening the working day will vastly improve work-life balance,” insisted Rene Magtubo, PM national chair.

Also being heard today at the Senate are proposals for 15 minute breaks and service charge in the hotel industry. Members of PM ans Sentro chanted “Workers need a break, We are not robots,” “No to compressed work, Yes to 8-hour law,” “Compressed workweek is hazardous to our health.”

Magtubo added that “Imagine workers laboring for 12 hours a day without overtime and travelling hours more through traffic. This is a recipe for killing workers through overwork and stress.”

He added that “Millions of workers already work 12 hours day because they avail of overtime as a way of augmenting their meager daily wages which are not enough to sustain their families. The compressed workweek will legalize this epidemic of overwork but worsen it by taking away overtime pay. The compressed workweek is a ploy to cheapen salaries, similar to the regionalization of wages.”


“In the exceptional cases where workers find that flexible work arrangements like flexi-time or compressed workweek is advantageous to them, there are already rules that allow for that on the condition that workers are consulted and agree to it. These must remain exceptions to the rule and the norm should be that the workday is eight hours and work beyond must be paid overtime,” Magtubo elaborated.

September 13, 2017