Bello to act on pizza hut mass termination

“Aaksyunan natin ang inyong problema!”
[We will act on your problem.]

This is the strong message of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III after talking to the almost 300 employees of the international fast food chain “Pizza Hut” at the Department of Labor and Employment Tuesday morning (August 30, 2016).

The Secretary declared he wanted to hear personally the reason behind why the Pizza Hut Management terminated all their employees who have been loyal to them and served the company for more than a decade.

Philippine Pizza Inc., Workers Union (PPIWU) spokesperson Rhea Robiso said, the termination came as a surprise for all of them when a letter arrived from their employment agency [Consolidated Building Maintenance -CBM] last month (August) stating that they could no longer maintain their positions.

“Nang pumasok po ako dito, ang mismong nag-hire sa akin ay ang mismong Philippine Pizza Inc., Pero after 9 months, ni-refer nila kami sa agency para daw po tuluy-tuloy ang aming pagta-trabaho,” Rhea told to Center for People’s Media (CPM).
[When I joined the company, Philippine Pizza Inc., was my direct employer. But after I reached nine months of service, they told me they would refer us to an agency so that my job would be continuous.]

But the promise of continuous service came to an end when the agency decided to terminate their services, allegedly due to difficulties the agency encountered in dealing with the management of the parent company, Philippine Pizza, Inc. (PPI).

“We need to fight for the union busting and stop the endo system. Even if it means we go to the Supreme Court to protect our rights, employers must obey the law. They need to recognize our right as workers,” Rhea said.

In the letter of termination released by the agency (CBM) it is clearly stated that “You may have heard by now from your friend and colleagues at work that earlier this morning, we served the required notices to Philippine Pizza Inc., and the other companies under the Araneta Group of Companies informing them of the management’s decision to terminate our service agreement effective 1 September, 2016.”

The letter further elaborates that “Over the years, we have exerted so much effort to keep our relationship with the Araneta Group viable so that our employees could remain gainfully employed. This despite the many difficulties we encountered, which were caused by the Araneta Group. Now it has come to a point that continuing with the relationship has become untenable. The unsustainable situation created by the Araneta Group has left us with no other choice but to terminate our service agreement.”

Meanwhile the Philippine Pizza Inc., the franchise owner of Pizza Hut in the Philippines operating under the Araneta Group of Companies, released an official statement dated 30 August 2016 (Tuesday) saying “We categorically deny implementing any lay-off program affecting PPI employees. The persons in question are not PPI employees. They are employed by an independent contractor, who were deployed to PPI per our service requirements. It was the independent contractor that decided to unilaterally terminate their contract with us.”

The PPI statement gathered different reactions from various individuals and organizations in social media.

For instance Globe Telecom Employees Union (GTEU-FFW) President Beejay Marasigan has this to say:

“Nakakalungkot na halos 2,500 na empleyado ang mawawalan ng trabaho dahil sa sila ay na sinasabing ENDO na o End of Contract. Masakit isipin na halos buong buhay nila ay inilaan nila para sa kumpanya. Nakaka-bahala ang ganitong mga hakbangin ng kumpanya, lalo na’t wala itong legal na basehan. Sana man lang ay nagkaroon muna ng dialogue and mga empleyado at management ng kumpanya para na address ang issue ng agaran at nagkaroon ng win-win solution ang bawat panig. Kung hindi na maiiwasan at aabot na ito sa 3rd party para desisyunan, sana ito ay maging patas sa lahat at respetuhin ng bawat panig ano man ang kahinatnan nito. Ang aming panalangin ng suporta para sa mga kasama natin sa Pizza hut.”

[It is sad to hear that 2,500 employees will be displaced just because of ENDO or End of Contract. It is hard to think, that majority of the workers spent their whole life for the company. The action of the company is alarming especially if there are no legal basis on terminating the employees. Perhaps before the management decided on mass termination they first offered to dialogue with the employees to address certain issues or look for a win-win solution for both parties. But if the situation cannot be avoided or mediated by a third party, we hope whatever the outcome it will be fair and balanced. We just pray and give our full support to our colleagues in Pizza Hut.]

While for Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) commented; “Just aim, and, fire! How easy to destroy the lives of endo workers. HINDI KO SILA EMPLEYADO. Ganito kadaling itapon ang kontraktwal na manggagawa. Wala raw silang tinatanggal dahil hindi sila empleyado ng Pizza Hut kundi ng independent service contractor. Ang Pizza Hut ay pag-aari ng pamilya ni Mar Roxas.”

[Just aim, and, fire! How easy to destroy the lives of endo workers. THEY ARE NOT OUR EMPLOYEES! This is how easy to disposed the contractual workers. The company denied they are not terminating any Pizza Hut employees, because they are hired not by the company instead they were hired by a private contractor. The Pizza Hut is owned by the family of Mar Roxas.]

Edwin Bustillos, sectoral representative of National Anti-poverty Commission (NAPC) for formal labor and migrant workers sectoral council share his views on PPI’s strategy: “Ito ang iskema ng kontraktwalisasyon na dapat na talagang itigil, palalabasin na yung ahensya ang nagtanggal sa kanila pero ito ay sabwatan sa principal (PPI) para makaiwas sa obligasyon nilang i – regular ang mga contractual workers!”

[This is the scheme of contractualization that has to be stopped. The management will point fingers and blame the agency in terminating all the employees, but in reality it is a clear conspiracy between the principal (PPI) to avoid obligation in regularizing all their contractual workers.]

Rhea is thankful and grateful for the show of support on social media. And she is confident that their struggle to fight for their right will be heard by the President himself.

“Bale tinulungan na rin po kami ni Sec. Bello, ang advise po nya sa amin ay magtungo kami sa Palasyo at ipa-receive ung aming letter of complaint sa office of the President. Tapos siniguro po ni Sec. Bello na sa unang hearing namin itong buwan ng September uupo sya (Bello) para mapakinggan at makausap ang management ng PPI,” Rhea explained.

[Sec. Bello advised us to proceed to Malacañang and forward our letter of complaint to the office of the President. Sec. Bello also assured us that he will attend the first that will be set this month of September to hear and talk to PPI management.]  CPM

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