Worker and union rights…still being violated and ignored


MANILA, Philippines – Since Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III took office last July, he has issued several memorandums to DOLE officers to strictly implement labor law compliance. This is in accordance to the directives of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to protect the interests and welfare of the Filipino working class both domestic and overseas.

For instance, on July 15th Bello convened the Department Of Labor and Employment (DOLE) directors and heads of agencies for a workshop to address the contractualization issue. Bello then stated in a July 19th order that “DOLE is not allowing the use of short-term employment contracts, whether these are through direct hiring by employers/principals or through contracting out, that is contrary to the provisions of the law.”

On July 25, Bello issued another memorandum saying that DOLE is determining how to reduce “endo” practice by 50 percent this year. He said the goal to reduce the number of establishments that are practicing “endo” is part of the Department’s effort to realize the plans of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte to abolish the unlawful contractualization scheme, which he described as an unfair labor practice as well as a tool for the exploitation of Filipino workers.

The President himself has warned company owners practicing “endo” in the country.

In his speech during the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting in Malacanang last August 5, President Duterte said, “I’m telling this to you. I’m just issuing a warning. You choose: Stop contractualization or I kill you. You know why? I can utter things like that. I am [the] President. I have immunity. I can summon you. I will shoot you [and order] ‘Bring him to the funeral parlor. You’re making me angry.’’

But the strong warning of the President seems to land on deaf ears. Why?

As of this writing, the Center for People’s Media (CPM) gathered several cases of harsh treatment of employees by their employers.

According to a recent Facebook posting by Julie Alipala last August 23, the Koronadal Commercial Corporation (KCC) Mall in Mindanao continues to violate certain worker rights.

“Listening to Brigada news under Nonong Santiago where salesladies, cashiers narrated labor related abuses committed by KCC officials. Bibigyan ka ng panty, bra, uniform tatak #KCC tapos deducted sa sweldo, kinakapkapan pati mga maseselan at pribadong bahagi ng kanilang katawan. Pag di ka nakagamit ng #KCC underwear, you are automatic absent or deduction sa sahod. Worst, their PhilHealth and SSS ay hindi nireremit ng management. Some worked for 9 months pero lahat sila contractual,” reads the post.

Another harassment and abuse case was recently experienced by a saleslady in Landmark, Trinoma, Quezon City. “Marie Anne” (not her real name) alleges she was threatened by her manager to end her control ??? just because she failed purchase an item she apparently reserved.

“Nag reserve po ako nang item na dapat ay bibilhin ko nung araw na iyon (August 18, 2013) ngunit sa kadahilanang kapos sa oras, hindi ko na nagawang bilhin kaya po nung pagdating ko sa trabaho hawak na nang manager ko yung item nay un. Kinausap nya ko na mali at bawal ang ginawa ko,” Marie Anne narrated to Center for People’s Media.

Marie Anne said, she is still willing to pay for the item, but her manager concluded otherwise.

“Nag-usap kami ng manager ko, pero ang pinalalabas nya eh nanakawin ko yung ni-reserve ko. Kaya ang gusto nyang mangyari, tapusin na ang kontrata ko agad. Marami na syang nagawan ng ganito gaya sa akin. Dinadaan nya sa pagtataray, ipipilit nay yung gusto nya at kung magpaliwanag ka, hindi ka nya papakingan,” Marie Anne said.

The workers of Yokohama Tires Philippines, Inc. in the Clark Free Zone, Mabalacat City, Pampanga are yet another target of unfair labor practices, claims union member Alex, who refused to be identified for fear of losing his job.

According to Alex, before the union was recognized as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent of Yokohama Philippines by winning the Certification Election (C.E) in August of 2015, at least five of their union officers were harassed and terminated without due process. Until now the case is pending in the National Labor Relation Commission (NLRC).

“Nalaman kasi ng management na yung isang opisyal namin ang namuno para mabuo ang unyon, kaya lumabas yung bribery issue. Binigyan siya ng memo tapos after one week termination,” Alex said.

Alex is lucky he is still in the company, unlike “Nap” who was a contractual employee through an agency, the Consolidated Building Maintenance, Inc. (CBM) as a delivery pizza for 13 years, without ever becoming regularized. Worse still, after 13 years of labor, his service was terminated together with 19 other contractuals.

“Sinubukan po kasi kaming tulungan ng Philippine Pizza Inc. Employees Union (PPIEU) na mag file ng case for regularization, pero imbis na bigyan pansin ito ng management at ng DOLE, dismissal ang aming nakuha,” Nap said.

Nap says the union is attempting to bargain with the Philippine Pizza Hut Inc., owned by the Araneta family, for around 300 remaining contractual workers of the CBM agency to become permanent employees. Thus far their effort had been denied.

These are just a few of the cases CPM has witnessed, and there are many more Filipino workers who have suffered the similar fates.

The question we must ask is, how long must workers wait to be recognized as permanent employees and given their rights as stated under the Philippine Labor Code, so recently affirmed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and President Rodrigo R. Duterte? CPM

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