Thursday, February 27, 2014

Carmen Copper mine union statement on settlement of labor dispute

PAMCC press con announcing planned strike
Press Statement
February 27, 2014

Today we announce that the looming strike at the country’s biggest mine has been averted with the union gaining significant concessions in its demands, especially a major advance in the fight against contractualization.

We have withdrawn the Notice of Strike (NOS) we have filed before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) as the union has reached an agreement with Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC) management yesterday afternoon during a conciliation conference at the NCMB.

We welcome management’s willingness to meet union demands in order to avoid a costly strike. The reasonableness of our demands combined with the support of the entire union membership made this settlement with the management possible.

This settlement is a victory for the union in general and specifically it is a step forward in protecting job security at the mine.

Out of four main issues we raised as basis for the NOS, only one outstanding issue was left:

1. Management commits to regularize 250 casual employees by March 8, 2014. For its smooth implementation, an oversight committee will be set up composed of union and management representatives;

2. Both the management and union agree to respect due process concerning the alleged infractions of 33 employees. On the complaint of double standard in the implementation of company rules ad regulations, management commits to be transparent with the union on all the administrative hearings and furnish copies of pertinent documents relevant to the relevant cases;

3. Management commits to act on the complaint of union Interference and unfair labor practice. Union will give the management free hand on the investigation and subsequent findings as a result of the said investigation.

The outstanding issue left is complaints regarding violations of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The union and management have agreed to put the issue on preventive mediation. The NCMB has set a preventive mediation hearing on March 13, 2014 to start the ball rolling on the resolution of the remaining issue.

The union remains vigilant in the implementation of the settlement agreement. We remain committed to industrial peace on the basis of respect for workers rights and welfare, especially compliance with the existing CBA between the union and the company.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Workers remember Edsa in one word: ‘Sayang’

25 February 2014

The 1986 People Power uprising created great opportunities for the country to move forward and to fulfil the great Filipino dream of enjoying a better quality of life.  Yet for the labor group, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), the past 28 years can truthfully be described as ‘sayang’ or wasted opportunities bungled by post Edsa rulers. 

In a statement PM enumerated some of the major achievements of Edsa, which, if haven’t been wasted, could have transformed the life of the working people adequately better. 

These include the dismantling of the Marcos dictatorship and replacing it with a relatively more liberal order; the institutionalization of anti-corruption measures; the ratification of a new Constitution that embodied a strong national patrimony and social justice provisions; and; the regular holding of national and local elections thereafter.

“But behind Edsa’s democratic façade were undisputable facts about its failed outcomes,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

The group stated further that while every Filipino especially those who braved the streets against the dictatorship must be recognized for making Edsa 1 and also Edsa 2 possible, it is worth evoking as well that there really is a visible failure in making life better for the masses under the rule of post-Edsa regimes. 

Notwithstanding the unaddressed problem of corruption, PM cites as a more biting example the failure of the two Aquinos (Cory and PNoy) to capitalize on their immense mandate and popularity to move the country away from the ‘business-as-usual’ development path imposed by foreign and local capital.

“So when PNoy asked his cabinet men and women on why the unemployment rate remained high despite the remarkable growth in GDP over the past several years, it only showed how pathetic the second Aquino can be to remain puzzled over the issue of jobless growth which is a problem that has been there since the time of his mother,” said Magtubo.

The average unemployment rate in 1986 was 6.7 percent. In December 2013 it stood at 7.3 percent based on government’s official survey to as high as 27.5 percent based on the survey by Social Weather Station (SWS).

The group also drew some pessimistic parallelism on the two Aquinos, particularly on the power issue.  PM explained that Cory Aquino left the Presidency with a crippling power crisis.  PNoy might finish his term in 2016 leaving the same problems of high power rates and thinning power supply.

And with the elite class apparently exercising full control of government and businesses, the group considers the PNoy government very far from being inclusive. 

In conclusion, PM pointed out that the major failures of Edsa led to the perpetuation of elite rule, inequality, and chronic poverty in the country. They include:

§  The intensification rather than the weakening of political dynasties due to lack of political reforms and the pervasiveness of corruption;
§  The dogged subservience to neoliberal policies such as privatization, deregulation and liberalization which prevented the country’s march towards industrialization and inclusive growth;
§  The corporate capture of almost all branches of government.

The group, however, won’t declare people power as “sayang”.  It maintained that all is not lost of Edsa, specifically on the necessity and wisdom of resistance and collective action taking this form.

“Workers will never give up the union spirit of collective action.  With the whole system faithfully serving the interest of the 1%, we have no choice but to keep the people power option our ultimate recourse to effect change that is truly meaningful,” concluded Magtubo.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Labor group raises concerns on 4-day work week proposal

18 February 2014
The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) has raised several concerns to the proposed 4-day work week to address monstrous traffic caused by the construction of Skyway 3, saying the proposal may not achieve its intended outcome.
“It does not follow that by reducing days of work, the volume of vehicles will significantly drop as most ordinary workers do not own vehicles.  It is not also automatic that when you cut the number of workers in a particular day, you also cut the business operation of public utility vehicles (PUVs),” said PM spokesperson Wilson Fortaleza.
Based on available data, private vehicles absolutely outnumber public utility vehicles in Metro Manila but around 70 percent of the volume of transporting people is carried out by PUVs.
“The proposal to cut the workers’ volume on a particular day of a week, however, is based on the plain assumption that no work would mean less vehicles on the streets, which is wishful thinking when the city is ruled by private vehicles,” said Fortaleza.
Another concern, he said, will be the impact of this proposal to small scale and micro enterprises (SMEs), particularly those in the wholesale and retail industry which comprise more than 90% of establishments and which employ the biggest number of workers in Metro Manila. 
The group said that the List of Establishments prepared by the National Statistics Office (NSO) indicated that establishments located in NCR employed about 3.0 million persons or 39% of the total employment in 2012.  On the average, each establishment in NCR employed about 14 persons.
PM further believes that compared to big industries, SMEs productivity and survival rely on daily sales of goods and services.
Fortaleza added that while flexible working hours is allowed under the law, it should not likewise result to the reduction or diminution of workers’ benefits, specifically on the provision of overtime pay above the mandatory 8-hour work day.  The proposal, he said, may lead to legalizing non-payment of overtime.
“Thus, absent a thorough study and consultations on affected sectors, the proposal to clear off the roads may end up punishing the poor,” stated Fortaleza.
PM, however, concedes that the traffic problem in Metro Manila must be addressed in the immediate and in the long term, but believes that there are many ways to do it. 
“Solutions to the problem must not only serve the minority interest of car-owning population.  City spaces, including roads, must also be inclusive. Thus, we are more in favour of developing mass transport systems particularly railways, rather than building more road networks that largely serve the comfort of private car owners,” concluded Fortaleza.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Press Statement
February 13, 2014

The Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC) management is creating a scenario similar to the 1980’s. An all-out attack against workers and repression of the labor union are in progress right now. But just as in the 1980’s, the old union called PAMA survived and won, we will again prove to the management that they have picked the wrong fight. We, the entire 3,000-strong membership of PAMCC, will stand our ground and we will prevail. It is because history is on our side.
It is our time to counter and fight back with all the means available to us. We will strike where it will hurt the most. Today we filed a Notice of Strike (NOS) before the NCMB on the grounds of CBA violations and unfair labor practices. We will respect the cooling off period but after that we will hold a strike! This will be a winner take all battle, its either us who will surrender or them. This is our demand. We’ve been here before and we’ve done this before. PAMA then is the PAMCC now.

During the rehabilitation stage of our Company, we fully cooperated in order for recovery to proceed. Indeed, from 2007 to 2012 not a single labor dispute took place. A harmonious relationship between labor and management existed at that time. Even though the salary was meager compared to the industry standard, we endured the sacrifice n the spirit of rehabilitation. In short, we let ourselves be used by the management in order for the company to take off.
CCC did take off after 5 years, earning P800 million pesos per shipment. The company was able to attract new investments like the Henry Sy group. CCC kept on expanding its operations with the workforce growing continuously.
But the management wants more from us. To further boost profit, the management must get rid of the genuine workers union – the PAMCC. At the final stage of rehabilitation, the management organized, supported and funded a company union – the CCWLO. It became clear that the last phase of rehabilitation meant busting the genuine union! But the management did not succeed because their own creation exploded in front of their face. CCWLO registration was cancelled and delisted from the roster of legitimate labor organizations.
The Management wants more from us. Little by little they are taking back the welfare and benefits enjoyed by the workers under our collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Medicine allowances are limited to only P6,000 per year. The next of kin provision on hiring of new employees is not being followed and instead workers not related to any of the union members are hired. Wage discrimination is rampant. Issuance of company uniforms are overdue. The Mining Act of 1995 is blatantly violated, specifically on priority hiring of residents of barangays affected by mining. Finally a double standard exists on the implementation of company rules specifically on AWOL cases.
The management wants more from us. Little by little they are contracting out jobs in the mine site that are necessary and desirable to the business of CCC while casual employees remain even beyond the six months of continued service in the company.
PAMCC will not take this sitting down. We will resist and fight back. There is no choice left to us but to end the 5 years of “harmonious relationship” between PAMCC and CCC. So far, We have been able to defend our ranks from the attacks of management but they are becoming more hard-headed and unreasonable.
Last year, management used the PNP to harass our leaders by conducting two illegal raids in the house and office of our union president and union treasurer. The raiding team planted explosives and ammunitions as manufactured evidence for the filing of criminal cases against our two union leaders. But the objective of their harassment was a complete failure. Our two leaders further deepened their resolve to fight for our union and workers. We raised the issue before the ILO, government agencies and human rights groups.

Two weeks ago, management used the DOJ thru the hoodlums in robe in the Toledo RTC to issue a warrant of arrest against our two leaders. This judge violated all protocols and process on issuing the warrants. Again, this will not succeed because all the charges are fabricated and therefore will be dismissed in due time.

We will be demonized by the management through its paid hacks in the media. That is why we are doing this media conference so that the public would understand us, the issues involved and why did we arrived at this decision.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bad policies behind rising unemployment -- PM

11 February 2012

It is not the bad weather but a combination of bad policies that is driving the country’s unemployment rate up, the workers’ group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement, in reaction to Malacanang’s “understandable” description of the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey on unemployment.
“It is really sad to see the unemployment numbers rising but we are more troubled with the fact that after more than three years in office, the Aquino administration has yet to understand the root cause of this chronic problem.  And it’s not about the weather,” declared PM chair Renato Magtubo.
The number of unemployed Filipinos, according to the SWS, swelled to more than 12.1 million in 2013. Malacanang, however, meekly "understood" it as an outcome of Yolanda, the Bohol earthquake and the Zamboanga siege. 
The group asserted that while climate change is now becoming the biggest threat especially to most vulnerable countries like the Philippines, bad policies remain the biggest obstacle to the country’s development, more so in the midst of worsening climate crisis. 
“Trade liberalization both in industry and agriculture, lack of industrial program, and the privatization-led growth model were to blame in this chronic problem of unemployment in the country,” said Magtubo, adding that since the country implemented those programs in the 80’s, “growth had not only been jobless but highly unequal.”
The group pointed out, based on its own review of the country’s development pattern during the past 30 years, it was every clear that growth years never translated into jobs while economic gains benefited only a few families. 
“Except for crises years of 1984-85, 1991, 1992 and 1998, the remaining 25 years between 1980 and 2013 were all 'growth years,' the highest rates during the last decade, including the 6.8% in 2012.  But the unemployment rate remained flat,”explained Magtubo.
The former partylist representative added that the only period where the unemployment rate in the country fell to single digit was when the government changed employment definitions in 2005, reducing in effect the number of unemployed persons by some 1.4 million. 
Magtubo said that unless the Aquino government and the ruling elite change course by reversing those bad policies, they will be punishing not only the present but even the future generation of workers.
More than half of the unemployed, both in the SWS and the NSO surveys, are those in age group 18-24.
He also warned that the unemployment problem is a “ticking time bomb”, a social problem that is due to explode unless addressed decisively by the present government.