Tag Archives: workers rights

[Press Release] The fight for justice and trade union rights lives on. -CTUHR

The fight for justice and trade union rights lives on.
CTUHR commemorates two unionists, victims of human rights violations

CTUHR logoThe Center for Trade Union and Human Rights commemorates this March two trade unionists, Rogelio Concepcion and Gerardo “Gerry” Cristobal, both victims of human rights violations of the Arroyo administration, saying their legacy signifies the undying struggle of the workers for justice and trade union rights.

“The cases of Cristobal and Concepcion remind us that the fight for justice and trade union rights should live on even amidst unrelenting state violence, oppressive and exploitative social structures.” Dylin Lauron, CTUHR coordinator for Women WISE3 said.

Gerry Cristobal was President of Samahan ng Manggagawa Independent in EMI Yazaki. Cristobal survived three attempts on his life including an ambush that severely wounded him. On March 10, 2010, he was killed by unknown men in Imus, Cavite. On the other hand, Rogelio Concepcion, officer-in-charge of the Solid Development Corporation Workers Association (SDCWA), was abducted on March 6, 2006 at 10 PM by unidentified men near their factory in San Ildelfonso, Bulacan. Concepcion is still missing up to now.

“Many years have passed since Concepcion was abducted and Cristobal was killed; there was already a change of administration and yet, justice for these two union leaders is still a far away dream. Jovito Palparan, former commander of the 24th Infantry Battalion, Armed Forces of the Philippine, referred to as the “berdugo” (beheader), known to have perpetrated many human rights killings and disappearances during the Arroyo administration, remains out of prison.”

“Worse, human rights killings and other forms of human rights violations did not end in the Aquino administration. On the contrary, Oplan Bayanihan, the counter-insurgency program of this administration, has added more victims of extra-judicial killings, criminalization and violation of trade union rights while previous cases remain unresolved,” Lauron added.

To date, there are 137 victims of extrajudicial killings since Aquino took office in July 2010. Eight of these are from the labor sector. CTUHR also documented more cases of criminalization against activists and unionists, with an average of 90 victims per year since 2010 compared to 42 victims per year between 2004-2009).

CTUHR reminded the Government of the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) recommendations following ILO’s High level Mission in 2009, “In compliance to international conventions signed by the government, the Aquino administration should end human rights killings and other forms of violations committed against unionists who are merely exercising their union rights.” The group also urged the government to resolve past cases of human rights violations and scrap Oplan Bayanihan.

RELEASE
13 March 2013

for Refence: Dylin Lauron, CTUHR Coordinator for Women WISE 3, +632.4110258

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[Solidarity/Petition] Stand Against Union Busting at Chiquita Bananas -ILRF – Take Action

Stand Against Union Busting at Chiquita Bananas

ILRF – Take Action

SITRAINBA 8 marzo 2013

This International Women’s Day, join us in calling on Chiquita banana supplier Tres Hermanas to bargain with SITRAINBA, the legally-recognized union on its three banana plantations in Honduras.

Since 2009, workers at Tres Hermanas have raised concerns over a pattern of labor rights violations, including failure to pay the minimum wage, unpaid overtime, and the illegal firing of workers attempting to exercise their right to organize. In order to protect their rights, workers on Tres Hermanas’ plantations formed the union SITRAINBA, which was officially recognized by the Honduran Ministry of Labor on August 15, 2012.

But instead of recognizing and bargaining with SITRAINBA as required by Honduras’ labor law, Tres Hermanas’ management has launched a campaign of anti-union harassment, including firing four women who were prominent union supporters. These egregious violations of the workers’ internationally recognized right to organize are all the more shocking since the plantations are Rainforest Alliance certified.

Take a stand against union busting by sending a letter to Tres Hermanas demanding that the management bargain with SITRAINBA and reinstate the fired union members.

Sign petition @action.laborrights.org

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[Press Release] Pols challenged to put workers concerns on platform -PM

Pols challenged to put workers concerns on platform

pmLogo1The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) asked candidates running in the elections to make workers demands part of their platform. PM issued the dare with two days to go before the start of the campaign of national candidates and as part of its electoral advocacy.

“If our so-called democracy is not just all form but has some substance, then the demands of the majority of the people must be met by those seeking the mandate of the voters. The electoral air war is already heating up even before February 12 with wannabes senators maximizing the loophole of the law by flooding television and radio with pre-campaign political ads. Yet we have to see any of them respond to the urgent demands of the workers and poor aside from motherhood statements,” declared Judy Ann Miranda, secretary general of PM.

As a kickoff for labor’s campaign around issues, last Friday some 300 workers bannered the demand “Manggagawa Naman!” as a challenge to senatorial and other candidates. “The torch parade around the airport area is the herald of the ‘Manggagawa Naman Movement’ which seeks to highlight labor issues in this election,” Miranda explained.

The workers pushed for a set of demands which they called “Apat na Dapat”:

1. Regular jobs

2. Affordable housing

3. Health and education for all

4. Cheap food, electricity and water.

In the Friday mass action, members of members of PM, the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), United Cavite Workers Association, Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Paranaque, Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Antipolo, Zone One Tondo Organization and Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino marched from the PALEA protest camp to the Our Lady of Airways Parish in Pasay and then back several times. The scores of torches lit the night and highlighted the placards emblazoned with the slogan “Manggagawa Naman!”

Before the torch parade, the workers celebrated the 13th founding anniversary of PM and commemorated the first year of the group PM Coalition with an afternoon-long program of speeches, presentations and cultural numbers at the PALEA picketline. The workers also paid homage to Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman who was assassinated on February 6, 2001 in the University of the Philippines. Lagman was the brain child behind the formation of PM as a labor party. ###

Photos @ https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.501047243270770.103028.100000964954343&type=1

Press Release
February 10, 2013
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Judy Ann Miranda @ 09228677522, 09175570777

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[In the news] Labor dep’t lauds union, softdrink firm in GenSan for quick CBA signing -MindaNews.com

Labor dep’t lauds union, softdrink firm in GenSan for quick CBA signing
By Allen V. Estabillo
February 8, 2013

MindaNewsGENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 February) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) commended the workers’ union and management of a softdrink bottling plant here for the accelerated settlement two weeks ago of their new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the signing of the new CBA between the management of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI)-General Santos City plant and its union General Santos Coca-Cola Plant Free Workers Union-TUPAS (GSCCPFWU-TUPAS) was considered a landmark development after it was concluded in just six negotiation meetings.

She noted that the CBA negotiation and signing were accomplished by the two parties “without any need for DOLE help.”

“This is an indication that when workers and management work together in an atmosphere of trust and with the general welfare of workers and interest of company sustainability and competitiveness in mind,
nothing is impossible,” Baldoz said in a statement issued by DOLE Region1 2.

Read full article @www.mindanews.com

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[Urgent Appeal] Hundreds of oil palm workers decry unjust dismissal -CTUHR

URGENT APPEAL
January 06, 2013

Hundreds of oil palm workers decry unjust dismissal; call for reinstatement, regularization, and implementation of labor standards

CTUHR logoThe Center for Trade Union and Human Rights is writing to you to seek your support for 293 of oil palm workers who were unjustly dismissed and were refused to go back to work following the lifting of strike last February 1 of nearly 1,000 workers of Filipinas Palmoil Plantations Inc. (FPPI).

These 293 workers were previously employed as casual employees in FPPI for as much as 30 years until an ocular inspection was conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on October 23 as a result of the union’s long campaign against unjust working conditions in the plantation. The inspection’s initial findings released on October 25  confirmed the company’s massive violations of labor standards. In an apparent retaliatory move, the management dismissed one by one all workers interviewed by DOLE in their inspection except a few (11) who agreed to sign a waiver. This action of the management prompted the workers’ union to launch a strike on November 27, which lasted until January 31 nearly two weeks after the Secretary of Labor assumed jurisdiction over the strike.

Issues of long term contractualization, CBA violations and child labor also hound the oil palm company. Two months hence, the DOLE is still reluctant to hold the company liable for its clear violations of the law.

Case Summary Nearly 300 casual workers of FPPI are still jobless even after the return to work order of the DOLE following the Labor Secretary’s assumption of jurisdiction (AJ) of FPPI workers’ strike on January 18, 2013.

Workers of FPPI lifted their two-month battle on January 31, 2013 several days after DOLE Secretary assumed jurisdiction over the strike. However, FPPI management denied 293 workers of their work insisting that they do not know and have never hired these workers.

On November 27, 2012, nearly 1000 workers together with their families launched a strike on grounds of unfair labor practices of the FPPI management and unjust dismissal of 293 casual workers. These 293 workers were previously interviewed by representatives of the DOLE-Caraga during the October 23 ocular inspection. The findings released on October 25 confirmed the company’s massive violation of labor standards such as underpayment of wages and absence of social security insurance for workers.

Massive violation of labor standards and long term-contractualization

As early as April 2008, workers of FPPI led by FPP Workers’ Union, has urged the management to implement labor standards as most workers, especially those who have long been in casual status, receive wages below minimum rate (only PHP150.00 a day versus the legally mandated PHP248.00) and do not receive social security benefits such as SSS,  PhilHealth and PAG-IBIG. The union, since 2008, have been also calling for the regularization of at least 198 workers who remained casual employees despite having worked in the company for at least five years to as much as 30 years.

Their long fight finally resulted to an ocular inspection on October 23, 2012 conducted by the representatives from DOLE-Caraga. More than 200 workers were interviewed in the one-day inspection. And on October 25, DOLE-Caraga released its initial findings confirming the massive violations of labor standards by the FPPI. The findings also noted at least PHP 9,000,000.00 worth of money claims for the workers.

Unfair dismissal

However, instead of correcting their violations of the law, the FPPI management, questioned the findings, saying the inspection findings is flawed and that the workers interviewed were not workers of FPPI. Worse, the workers who were interviewed by DOLE-Caraga representatives were persuaded by the management to sign a waiver retracting their statements or they will be relieved from work. Those who will sign a waiver however can keep their jobs as casual employees and receive PHP 3,000.00. Only 11 workers signed the waiver, the rest who refused to sign were dismissed one by one by the management until on November 16, all workers interviewed were already dropped from the ranks of FPPI workforce. This issue, aside from other unfair labor practices of the company, prompted the union to hold a strike.

Moreover, dismissed workers are mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries (landowners) and are members of the cooperatives that lease land to FPPI. Part of the agreement between them and the management is to hire them as workers in the plantation.

Collective bargaining deadlock

Since 2008, FPPI management has also refused to give the workers the amount of wage hike they were asking during their collective negotiations. This issue plus the company’s refusal to implement the CBA benefits to 198 casual employees, in fact led to a previous strike of workers in 2010.

Late in 2011, FPPI Workers’ Union (FPPIWU) filed a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which the management refused to acknowledge saying that their CBA has expired since five years have lapsed. Consequently, a certification election was held on March 17, 2012; FPPIWU won the union election and the union followed up their previous CBA. On May 8, 2012 sitting, the company did not provide a written counterproposal. Between June to August, a series of negotiations ensued between FPPIWU and the management. The management offered a meager 2-2-3 (in pesos or US$0.05, 0.05, 0.07)) staggered daily wage hike for the next three years which is way below the union’s 100-125-150 (in pesos) proposal. In August, the company, slightly raised its offer to PHP 3-3-4 but the union finds this unacceptable given the high profits of company. On September 17, a CBA deadlock was officially declared.

Harassment of union members

On Oct. 4, 2012, Rexon Generol, a member of FPPIWU spoke  in the Manila launch of CTUHR’s research on child labor and workers’ situation in oil palm plantation in Caraga (The book is entitled Children of Sunshine Industry). Generol gave a testimony about their dire working conditions as a result of long term contractualization which he experienced personally. Generol started working for FFPI  when he was 14 years old and have been working there  for 27 years, yet he remains in casual status receiving wages below the minimum rate, no social security and no benefits given to regular employees (such as rice allowance plus other bonuses).

Generol was wary that when he comes back to Agusan del Sur, he might lose his job after exposing to the public their conditions in FPPI. And true enough, when he was about to work on October 8, he found out that he was already dismissed.

Intimidation while on strike

While on strike, workers continue to experience intimidation and heated confrontations from members of Special Citizen Active Auxiliary (SCAA) and the company’s security personnel.

On December 13, around 10 PM, workers were alarmed when they heard from behind their post, six shots (two shots from a triangle, one from a pistol and three shots from an M-14). They learned that the shots were fired by members of the SCAA whose post is just a few meters away from the picket line. Workers suspect that the shots were aimed at creating fear among strikers as SCAA members laughed and made fun of the incident afterwards.

On January 12, 2013, the strikers were threatened (by the management) that they will be charged with company bankruptcy because of the strike. Through the SCAA and Agency Security Group (FPPI’s security guard), workers were persuaded to sign a waiver that they will no longer join the strike and will go back to work. Only siix workers signed the waiver.

Two days after, on Jan. 14, an argument between the strikers and the guards ensued when the workers blocked the supervisors and managers from entering the plantation premises. To avoid future conflict, the strikers have previously drafted an agreement with the SCAA and the ASG that no personnel of the company will be allowed to enter the premises while the strike is still on. SCAA and ASG however declined to sign the agreement.

During the heated exchange, security forces of the company (identified as Limyado, Awitan, Sakal and Dondi Carbin) cocked their guns at Mr. Jowarh Quita, a staff of the union, while the latter was taking a video footage of the said confrontation. The guards were insisting that a newly-built “boom” by the workers be removed. The “boom” was installed by the workers to block the passages of those who would be working while there is still a strike.

Misleading dialogues and unfruitful negotiations
Since the strike started on November 27, the union has been always open to negotiations with the company and the government. In several occasions, the FPPI management has postponed their scheduled negotiations, while the government remains lukewarm in holding the company liable for its violations of labor standards.

Union officials lament that instead of settling the issue, the government is setting up meetings that divert the issue and threaten the striking workers. On December 7 for instance, the government called for an inter-agency dialogue with the strikers. Representatives from the DOLE, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the local government unit (LGU) were present in the dialogue. The union representative noted that the DOLE representative asked the workers if they can “lift ” the strike for the spirit of Christmas, but said nothing about the workers demands.. DSWD as well as the LGU expressed concern over the children of workers who are staying in the picket line.

Several talks between company officials, the union, and the DOLE happened but were not fruitful. The first was on Dec. 21, nearly a month after the strike started followed by another on Dec 30, Jan 7, and 9. While the union went as far as lowering their demands from implementing the labor standards to reinstating casual employees unnjustly dismissed, the company however denied having hired, or had known the 293 workers it terminated following DOLE’s ocular inspection on October 23. As for the negotiated wage hike, the company, stood firm in its offer of Php 3-Php3-Php 4 daily wage hike for the next three years.

On January 18, the Department of Labor and Employment assumed jurisdiction (AJ) over  the strike and ordered all workers to go back to their work. The workers were wary  that the AJ order may later cause violence as in other cases of violent dispersal of strikes.

On two negotiations in Manila on January 24 and 28 this year, workers’ demands were hardly settled. Even if the strike has been lifted, they are still struggling for the reinstatement of the 293 casual workers, their eventual regularization.

The labor law (Article 280 of the Labor Code) is clear that contract or even seasonal workers will be considered regular or permanent if they work for a company for a one year, even if the employment is intermittent. Repeated renewal of contract, much more years of employment proves that the work being done by those  considered ‘casual’ by the company is necessary and desirable i.e production will be severely affected if they those workers are removed from work  The 293 casual workerss at FPPI are mostly harvesters, without them, there will be no fruits to grind and no oil to sell.

The discrimination and rights violations of 293 workers are clear, they were not only deprived of monetary and welfare benefits due to regular workers and union members, they were deprived of their right to security of tenure and their basic right to life as they were thrown to living in dire situation. Their children are forced to work in the field for family survival. More importantly, their dismissals after testimony to a government inspection must be accorded with protection against retaliatory acts by employer; lest injustice will continue to be committed against these workers, and trust on the administration of justice weill continue to be questioned.

Background of the company

Filipinas Palm Oil Plantations Inc. was established in 1980 in the municipality of Rosario in Agusan del Sur. It is 60 percent-owned by a Filipino and 40 percent Indonesian. It covers 8,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in San Francisco and Rosario Agusan del Sur. Government estimates its average production to as much as 40 metric tons of fresh fruit bunch of oil palm per hour and used to export its products to the US, Japan, Malaysia and Europe in the 1990s. To date, local consumption for palm oil has increased and FPPI is a supplier for known food companies namely Monde Nissin Corporation, Nissin Corporation, Wyeth Philippines, Universal Robina Corporation, Ecco Food Corporation, and Magnolia Corporation.

Workers computation of companies minimum gross earnings per hectare of land per month is equivalent to PHP 22,080.00. Ratio of worker to hectare is 1:4; land rent per hectare per month  a measly PHP 166.00 under the existing lease agreement between the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) who lease out the land to FPPI through cooperatives.

Action Needed:

In support of the dismissed workers in FPPI, please write to the authorities imploring them to:

1) Immediately bring back to work the 293 unjustly dismissed workers of FPPI, promote them into regular status as provided by law, and accord them with rights and benefits due them;

2) Hold FPPI liable for its massive violation of labor standards and regularize all workers who have been working in the company for at least one year, and implement all provisions of the collective bargaining agreement to  all workers, without discrimination, thus, reducing incidence of child labor in the plantation;

3) Stop all forms of harassments, threats and intimidation  against all workers and their family members who joined the strike;

3) For the Department of Labor and Employment to uphold its Department’s findings on the October 23 ocular inspection that verified massive labor standards violations of FPPI;  hold the FPPI management liable to the all workers especially those who have been unjustly dismissed.

4) For DOLE and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to institute mechanisms and provide protection against any retaliatory actions, and provide assistance to all workers and/or trade unionists who come out to testify and speak about their situation.

5) For President Benigno Aquino III and its economic managers to investigate the condition of palm oil workers and communities, effectively address the problem of child labor and poverty of affected communities’  before any expansion of oil palm plantation is pursued.

Please send your letters to the following:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

Hon. Rosalinda Dimapilid Baldoz
Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment
7th Floor DOLE Bldg., Intramuros,
Fax no.: (632) 336-8182
Email: secrdb@dole.gov.ph

S.K. Tan
General Manager
Filipinas Palm Plantations Inc
7/F Citibank Center
8741 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Tel: +6328127541
Fax: +632.817.5753

Dennis Villareal
President
Filipinas Palm Plantations Inc
7/F Citibank Center
8741 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Telephone: +632 8127541-46
Email:  denn.villa@gmail.com

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to us:  email pie.ctuhr@gmail.com; telefax (02) 411-0256.

Thank you very much for your support.

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights
ctuhr.org

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[In the news] 2 workers killed in separate accidents in Hanjin shipyard

2 workers killed in separate accidents in Hanjin shipyard.
By Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net
February 4, 2013

inquirerMANILA, Philippines—Two workers have died as a result of two separate accidents that happened inside the shipyard of the Korean firm Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines in Subic Bay Freeport.

An incident report that had been submitted by Hanjin to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) identified the two fatalities as Jenny San Miguel Luna, 34, and Felix del Mundo Vidallos, 53.

The report said Luna died after he was hit by a forklift being driven by a worker from Sitikor Corporation, a subcontractor of Hanjin, on Thursday, Jan. 31.

Read full article @newsinfo.inquirer.net

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[Press Release] Workers urge SC to resolve party-list row as OSG given extension -PM

Workers urge SC to resolve party-list row as OSG given extension

pmLogo1The newly formed workers party-list group Partido ng Mangggawa Coalition (PM Coalition) urged the Supreme Court (SC) to resolve the party-list disqualification row “with dispatch” as the high court gave due course to a motion from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file a comment.

Last Tuesday, PM Coalition held a rally at SC to push for its petition asking the high court to overturn the Comelec’s disqualification. The SC however tabled the OSG’s motion for partial reconsideration asking to be given until tomorrow to file a consolidated comment on behalf of the Comelec. In an en banc session last January 8, the SC did not act on PM Coalition’s petition for a temporary restraining order on the raffle of party-list names and printing of ballots but asked the Comelec to comment on a non-extendible deadline of five days.

“It is in the interest of all parties, not just the party-list groups and the Comelec, but the voters especially that the dispute over Comelec’s disqualification of party-list groups be settled by the next SC en banc session on January 29,” asserted Bong Palad, the group’s president and also secretary of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).

PM Coalition welcomed the Comelec’s postponement of the printing of ballots to February 4 which effectively meant that it will wait for a high court ruling on the party-list issue. Comelec earlier said that its timetable precluded such a delay.

“We call on the high court to finish the job of cleansing of the party-list system by affirming the disqualification of BOPALs or bogus party-lists but also correcting the mistakes of the Comelec such as not accrediting a legitimate workers group like PM Coalition based on a technicality. Comelec’s disqualification of PM Coalition is in contrast with its highly questionable accreditation of some BOPALs that seem to have a much lobby power,” averred Palad.

The PM Coalition rallyists from affiliates PALEA, Samahan ng Manggagawa ng Paranaque and Zone One Tondo Organization bannered the call “Manggagawa Naman!” in its picket to express its advocacy for representation of workers in Congress and for labor issues to be put in the forefront of the national agenda.

The Comelec’s Second Division dismissed PM Coalition on the ground that it failed to comply with the requirements for registration as a “sectoral coalition.” But Palad insisted that even under Comelec Resolution No. 9366 – Rules on filing of petitions for registration – requirements under Section 6. Petition for Registration, Contents states that petitioner is only required to submit names, addresses, and representatives of sectoral parties or organizations affiliated with the petitioner, which affiliates need not be registered with the Commission, but have given their consent thereto.

Press Release

PM COALITION
January 24, 2013
Contact Bong Palad @ 09165740596

[Video] Pasko ng PALEA -RAPPLER.com

Pasko ng PALEA
rappler.com

Published on Dec 25, 2012

rappler_logoSince its members were “locked out” from their jobs on September 11, 2011 the Philippine Airlines Employee Association (PALEA) has maintained a protest camp outside of the Philippine Airlines in-flight services. PAL implemented an outsourcing program and violently ejected the union members from their posts. Members of PALEA, some who had been working for more than thirty years, refuse to accept scanty severance packages or jobs in the newly-created contracting firms that would cut their wages in half.

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[Press Release] Teachers’ bonus released before Christmas -TDC

Teachers’ bonus released before Christmas

logo TDCThe productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI) of public school teachers and government employees was released on-time according to the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC). However, the group’s monitoring this weekend revealed that several schools in some areas like Quezon City in NCR and Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato provinces in Central Mindanao failed to receive the one-time across-the-board incentive of P5, 000.00 last Friday, the last working day before the long weekend. The reason for this, according to the group is likely technicalities on the procedure in the field. But it does not mean that the DBM or DepEd failed to release the amount.

The TDC reiterated their appeal to DBM and Malacanang to defer the implementation of the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB). Under the PBB scheme, teachers and government employees will again receive another amount ranging from P5, 000. 00 to P35, 000.00 depending on the performance rating/ranking of the employees and the agencies they work and expected to be released within the first quarter of 2013. The group, earlier this month assailed the government for cutting their PEI by half, since they received a total of P10, 000.00 beginning year 2007. They also protest the PBB which according to them is a deceptive ploy that would further divide the field and could not be used as a basis for the merit-based incentive this year, especially in the DepEd because it has no clear-cut implementing policy and is too late.

It is recalled that the teachers lead by TDC sang Christmas carols and had a dialogue with DBM officials to convey the message to the president. The group is waiting for at least an announcement from Malacanang if it is going to push through with the PBB or will just give an additional P5, 000.00 to make it equal as the preceding 5 five years, a system which according to DBM officials is more practical and economical on the part of government.

NEWS RELEASE
December 24, 2012

Reference: Benjo Basas. National Chairperson 0920-5740241

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[Press Release] Workers party-list group petitions SC to overturn disqualification -PM

Workers party-list group petitions SC to overturn disqualification

The newly-formed workers party-list Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition (PM Coalition) today filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Commission on Elections resolution disqualifying the group. In its petition, PM also sought a temporary restraining order on the scheduled raffle of party-list names and printing of the ballots in January.

Partido ng Manggagawa chairman and PM Coalition nominee Renato Magtubo said the group has complied with all the requirements for accreditation thus it finds no reason to be rejected by the poll body which has declared its intention to rid the party-list system of non-marginalized groups.

PM Coalition cited Rule 44 in its petition which allows review of decisions of constitutional commission bodies. The group is protesting why a truly marginalized group and whose nominees possess laudable track records in serving the working class is denied accreditation by the Comelec while highly questionable groups got blind approval.

“Our coalition is composed of truly marginalized sector, the working class, and our nominees have indisputable track records as veteran leaders of big trade unions and labor organizations,” argued Magtubo, a long-time trade union leader and an activist himself.

Aside from Magtubo, PM Coalition nominees include PALEA president Gerry Rivera, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation Annie Geron, Central Negros Electric Cooperative union president Benjamin Tundag, and Philadelfa Burdeos, former president of the BPI union in Cagayan De Oro City.

PM Coalition Chair Ambrosio Palad explained that the group appealed before the Comelec En Banc after its application was denied by the Second Division based on misinterpretation in the group’s application as a coalition.

Palad said PM Coalition is a coalition of different labor organizations that want to participate in the 2013 partylist elections. “It is not a coalition of political parties like the UNA or the LP-NP-NPC-Akbayan alliance as grossly misunderstood by the Second Division.”

Palad said several unions and labor associations nationwide coalesced into PM Coalition to boost their chances of winning in the 2013 elections. A party or a coalition of sectoral groups is allowed under the party-list law.

Groups under PM Coalition include duly registered groups such as the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA), Partido ng Manggagawa, United Cavite Workers Association, Rosario Workers Association, Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino, Displaced Workers Association of Teresa, Rizal, Nasudnong Katawhang Kabus in Cebu, Labor Power Council-Negros (LPC-Negros), Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Antipolo (SAMA), Samahan ng Manggagawa ng Parañaque (SMP), United Panay-Iloilo Truck Drivers Association (UPTDA), United Skilled Plumbers Association Inc. (USPA), CENECO Union of Rationale Employees (CURE), Samahan ng Mamamayan-Zone One Tondo Organization (SM ZOTO), Valenzuela Informal Settlers Federation (VISFED), and Yellow Bus Line Employees Union (YBLEU).

PRESS RELEASE
Partido ng Manggagawa Coalition
21 December 2012
Contact: Bong Palad
09165740596
Rene Magtubo
09178532905

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[Press Release] PALEA slams arrest of another member

PALEA slams arrest of another member

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) condemned the arrest of another of its members as it planned protests at the airport area in response. PALEA member Esther Gonzaga was arrested yesterday around noon in Makati City and was granted temporary freedom by 6:30 pm after posting bail.

Gonzaga’s arrest follows the earlier apprehension of Romeo Sayas who was detained in Malvar, Batangas for several days before he was released on bail. Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair declared that “The harassment case of grave coercion was filed by the management of PAL against the PALEA 39 who valiantly defended the protest camp when
it was attacked by hired goons on October 29, 2011.”

Aside from the case against the PALEA 39, there are two more criminal suits pending against union members due to the labor row. Rivera called on new PAL President Ramon Ang “to facilitate the resolution of the labor dispute by dropping the trumped up charges against our
members which were filed under the old company management of Jaime Bautista.”

Gonzaga was arrested near her residence while attending a barangay meeting as she is a community leader. She is one of two women among the PALEA 39. PALEA believes that the warrants of arrest on the remaining 37 PALEA members may also be served in the coming days.

Rivera explained that as enunciated under DOJ Ministry Circular No. 15 (Series of 1982) and DOLE Order No. 40-G-03 (Series of 2010), no criminal information can be filed against workers without the required clearance from the DOLE. “Absent such clearance, the courts are mandated to dismiss the charges outright. Such a policy, started after the formal lifting of martial law, aims to resolve rather than aggravate labor disputes and regulate the proclivity of capitalists to engage in harassment suits against workers,” Rivera elaborated.

PALEA also lambasted Pasay Assistant City Prosecutor Orlando Mariano and Judge Bibiano Colasito of the Pasay MTC Branch 44 for finding probable cause and ordering the issuance of arrest warrants against 39 PALEA members. “These officers of the court not only defied labor statutes but infringed on our members right to due process, and thus deserve to face administrative charges,” Rivera insisted.

He also denounced PAL lawyer Atty. Santiago “Sonny” Quial for “legal machinations.” Quial is running for district representative in Pasay for the coming elections. “As many PALEA members are Pasay voters, we will make sure that a law breaker does not become a law maker,” Rivera claimed.

Press Release
November 8, 2012
PALEA
Contact Alnem Pretencio @ 09209543634

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[In the news] Militant labor groups demand living, not ‘libing’ wage -INQUIRER.com

Militant labor groups demand living, not ‘libing’ wage.

By Tina G. Santos,Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 2, 2012

“Libing (burial),” not living, wage.

This was how militant and labor groups described the remaining P10 increase in the cost-of-living-allowance (Cola) for minimum wage earners in Metro Manila, which took effect Thursday.

“No wonder the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) implemented this hike in time for Day of the Dead (Araw ng Patay),” Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo said in a statement.

Crisostomo said the hike is far from the P125 demanded by the workers and the P993 Family Living Wage set by Ibon Foundation in 2011, the amount required to meet daily family needs.

“The present workers’ pay is not a living wage, it’s a ‘libing’ (funeral) wage. You can feel the spirit of the dead, but not the wage hike,” he said in Filipino, adding that most employers do not implement the minimum wage levels.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

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[Press Release] Teachers want more funds to education -TDC

Teachers want more funds to education

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) on Monday hails the declaration from the Budget Department that it has released the funds amounting to P2.68 billion allotted for the construction of school buildings and water and sanitation facilities for public schools. The group believes that such amount could augment the needs of public schools for the improvement of physical facilities.

“While it is quite late, because we are in the final quarter, construction and repair of school buildings, classrooms and toilets could really enhance the learning environment of our children. A place conducive for learning yields better performance.” Said Benjo Basas, a Caloocan City teacher and the group’s national chairperson.

Basas however criticized the government for allotting very little funds for education sector in 2012 and in the proposed 2013 national budget.

“If the government is sincere in its “globally competitive” programs like K-12, there should be more money for education sector. The kindergarten program should have been prioritized.” Basas said.

Basas cited the implementation of the K-12 program which for his group’s belief lacks integral support especially in resources.

“The government is focused on curricular reform, yet the shortage in teachers has reached its historic high. We need basic necessities to attain the ambitious goals of K-12 program, the Aquino government’s flagship program in education.” Basas continued.

While the group appreciates the efforts of the DepEd in improving education performance, it is still critical to implementation of the K-12 program. Last week, House’s education committee overwhelmingly approved the K-12 proposal.

“If we expect the best output, we should also be providing the best input.” Basas ended.

Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chairperson- 0920-5740241/3853437
Note: Benjo Basas will be speaking in the Division of Lucena City at 1:00PM today as part of the city teachers’ in-service training

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[Press Release] Workers slam PNoy’s $1B loan to IMF -PM

Workers slam PNoy’s $1B loan to IMF

The labor party Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today slammed the government’s decision to loan $1 billion of the country’s foreign reserves to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The fund is intended for the Eurozone crisis but PM avers that it will be used by the IMF to impose anti-workers austerity schemes in Europe.

“We call on PNoy to reconsider his decision. $1 billion is better used for social protection at home than social devastation abroad. The workers and people of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and even France have rejected austerity through the polls and by protests,” insisted Renato Magtubo, PM national chair.

Tomorrow PM together with the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) will stage a rally at the Central Bank headquarters and office of the Department of Finance in Manila in protest of the loan to the IMF. The rally also coincides with the 9th month anniversary of PALEA’s fight against outsourcing. Last year, on September 27 PALEA launched a protest action at the airport against contractualization which was forcibly suppressed by airport police and security guards.

Gerry Rivera, PALEA president, said that “PNoy readily comes to the aid of European bankers but he is blind and deaf to the cries of the Filipino workers for wage increase and regular jobs. In opposing the loan to the IMF, we are extending the hand of solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Europe. Let us help the needy not the greedy. The IMF will use our $1B—which is the blood and sweat of our OFW’s—to bail out the bankers of Europe and squeeze money from the workers though cuts in wages, pension, subsidies and social programs.”

Magtubo added that “The IMF wants the workers to pay for the crisis of the capitalists. The Eurozone crisis is a result of European governments’ bailing out their bankers which were saddled by failed speculative investments in the subprime housing market in the US that collapsed in 2008. As a result of austerity tied to loans, Greece is in recession for five years running with unemployment at more than 20% in general but more than 50% for the youth. This year Spain fell into a double-dip recession with unemployment rates similar to Greece which will be aggravated by austerity measures dictated in the recent bailout scheme.”

“Just like Europe, the Philippines too is a victim to the anti-labor and anti-people policies of the IMF. Liberalization has led to the collapse of Philippine industry and agriculture resulting to job losses and rural unemployment. Privatization and deregulation has led to price hikes and worsening poverty. It is time for a paradigm shift. International solidarity instead of IMF austerity. Uphold growth and hope instead of recession and injustice in Europe and the Philippines. Shift to a new paradigm of living wages, regular jobs, taxes on the rich, social services, national industrialization and agrarian reform,” Rivera explained.

Press Release
June 26, 2012
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Judy Ann Miranda @ 09175570777, 09228677522

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[Press Release] Workers picket CB in protest of $1B loan to IMF-PALEA

Workers picket CB in protest of $1B loan to IMF

Members of the Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) and the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) picketed this morning the Central Bank headquarters and office of the Department of Finance at Roxas Boulevard in Manila in a protest against the controversial $1 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Some one hundred workers chanted “Help the needy not the greedy! Support Europeans thru solidarity not austerity!”

“How can Malacanang justify the loan as helping the Europeans when the supposed beneficiaries have rejected the IMF bailout and its conditionalities? By protests and through the polls, the workers and people of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and France have all rejected IMF austerity,” averred Gerry Rivera, PALEA president.

Renato Magtubo, PM national chair, insisted that “The $1B—which is the blood and sweat of our OFW’s—will harm our own migrant workers in Europe since the IMF’s austerity schemes dictate cuts in wages, reduction in social programs and liberalization of labor contractualization. By extending the loan to the IMF, our OFW’s and Europeans workers will earn less, lose public services and be easier to fire.”

The rally today also coincides with the 9th month anniversary of PALEA’s fight against outsourcing. Last year, on September 27 PALEA launched a protest action at the airport against contractualization and up to now it maintains a picketline outside the PAL In-Flight Center. PALEA called on the new management of Philippine Airlines led by Ramon Ang to revive the flag carrier by reinstating its regular workers. “After nine months of protest, PALEA continues to labor for justice,” declared Rivera.

In reply to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s assertion that the loan to the IMF will be help global stability, Rivera asserted that “It will just be used to bailout the bankers even as ordinary Europeans and migrant workers suffer the pains of austerity. In opposing the loan to the IMF, we are extending the hand of solidarity to our brothers and sisters in Europe. It is amazing that PNoy readily comes to the aid of European bankers but he is blind and deaf to the cries of the Filipino workers for wage increase and regular jobs.”

Magtubo added that “Instead of stabilizing, the IMF is destabilizing the economies of Europe. Despite receiving several bailouts from the IMF, Greece is in recession for five years running with unemployment at more than 20% in general but more than 50% for the youth. This year Spain fell into a double-dip recession with unemployment rates similar to Greece which will be aggravated by austerity measures dictated in the recent bailout scheme.”

“Just like Europe, the Philippines too is a victim to the anti-labor and anti-people policies of the IMF. Liberalization has led to the collapse of Philippine industry and agriculture resulting to job losses and rural unemployment. Privatization and deregulation has led to price hikes and worsening poverty. It is time for a paradigm shift. Uphold growth and hope instead of recession and injustice in Europe and the Philippines. Shift to a new paradigm of living wages, regular jobs, taxes on the rich, social services, national industrialization and agrarian reform,” Rivera explained.

Press Release
June 27, 2012
PALEA
Contact Gerry Rivera @ 09157755073

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[In the news] Protect domestic workers, ratify ‘C189’ -RAPPLER.com

Protect domestic workers, ratify ‘C189’.

BY PURPLE ROMERO, RAPPLER.com
April 13, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – It’s a story you hear every day. May it be in the concrete jungles of Manila, or in an impoverished far-flung area, the Pearl of the Orient has a few left opportunities for the struggling Filipino family to earn just enough for a daily decent meal.

Hence, a mother, a son, any member of the household is likely to opt for venturing to a different land and workplace, in the hopes of earning more. Sometimes they do live the dream, but there are times when they see the dream turn into a nightmare.

Since the story has become so familiar, worker rights’ groups thought that the Philippine government will immediately move to ensure the protection of domestic workers by ratifying a landmark instrument that will globally set the standards for domestic workers’ rights.

But it’s been almost a year since the International Labor Organization Convention 189 (C189) has been adopted, but not one country — including the Philippines — has ratified it yet. C189 has to be ratified by at least 2 countries before it can take effect. The legally-binding agreement mandates countries to put in place regulations that ensure the promotion and protection of  the basicrights of domestic workers.

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

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[From the web] “Kalbaryo ng Manggagawa at Maralita” held in Makati -All Voices

“Kalbaryo ng Manggagawa at Maralita” held in Makati
BY JuanManggagawa, allvoices.com
April 03, 2012

A “Kalbaryo ng Manggagawa at Maralita’ was held in Makati today to highlight the plight and demands of workers and the poor. Some 200 members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) and Alyansa ng Maralitang Pilipino (AMP) participated in the “Kalbaryo.”

“The Kalbaryo is an annual tradition to remind government of the unmet demands and the heavy crosses borne by the working people. Contractual jobs, low wages, high prices and demolitions of depressed communities are the problems underscored by today’s protest,” Renato Magtubo, PM chair explained.

The Kalbaryo passed through key government agencies and private institutions in Makati in a mock stations of the cross. One protester carried a symbolic cross on his back. Some women participants held shrouds ala the legend of St. Veronica. The cross and shrouds were marked with the issues highlighted by the Kalbaryo.

Read full article @ www.allvoices.com

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[From the web] Philippines: Trade unions face an environment of violence and intimidation -ITUC Online

INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION

ITUC OnLine

Philippines: Trade unions face an environment of violence and intimidation

Brussels, 22 March 2012 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC is releasing today a report on core labour standards in Philippines that finds an environment of violence and intimidation against trade unions – including harassments, dismissals, false criminal charges, arrests, threats and even murder. The authorities often fail to bring the assassins and those who order the murders to justice.

The report also finds frequent use of anti-union practices by employers and state authorities, including impeding union elections, setting up yellow unions and refusing regularisation of workers. The replacement of long-term employment contracts with subcontracted labour further curtails union membership and bargaining strength. In Special Economic Zones (SEZs) union organising is prevented by security forces, and workers seeking to organise face dismissals and blacklisting.

The ITUC also finds poor compliance with other international labour standards, especially those prohibiting child labour and forced labour. There are between two and five million children at work and many children are exploited in the worst forms of child labour. Moreover, many women and girls are forced into domestic servitude and prostitution and men coerced into debt peonage in agriculture and fisheries. The government is making some efforts to eliminate child labour, human trafficking and forced labour but some police are complicit in these illegal activities.

To read the report: http://www.ituc-csi.org/internationally-recognised-core,10865.html

The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 308 affiliated national organisations from 153 countries and territories.
Website: http://www.ituc-csi.org and http://www.youtube.com/ITUCCSI
For further information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on: +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 62 10 18

[In the news] Don’t push workers against wall, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines tells Malacañang | Sun.Star

Don’t push workers against wall, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines tells Malacañang | Sun.Star.

March 11, 2012

THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) urged Sunday the national government not to push the workers against the wall amid the rise in prices of basic commodities.

In a phone interview, TUCP president Democrito Mendoza scored Malacañang for immediately discounting the possibility of having a salary adjustment granted amid their announcement of a plan to file wage hike petitions.

“Malacañang should protect the interest of workers and their families not push them against the wall,” said Mendoza.

If it continues to do so, the labor leader said they may have no other recourse but to instigate protest actions.

“If workers’ needs are not met now, workers will have no recourse but to seek redress on the streets,” said Mendoza.

On Saturday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte stressed that it would be impossible to implement wage hikes since there is a one-year ban in between adjustments of minimum salary rates.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] OFW na napinsala ang katawan dahil sa aksidente, humihingi ng tulong para makauwi sa Pinas -GMA News

OFW na napinsala ang katawan dahil sa aksidente, humihingi ng tulong para makauwi sa Pinas
February 7, 2012

Nanawagan ng tulong sa pamahalaang Aquino para makauwi na sa Pilipinas ang isang overseas Filipino worker (OFW) sa Jeddah, Saudi Arabia na nagtamo ng matinding pinsala sa katawan matapos makuryente.

Sa panayam ng GMA News, sinabi ni Alfredo Salmos, 53-anyos, tubong Nueva Ecija, na mahigit isang taon na siyang naghihirap sa kanyang kalagayan mula nang makuryente sa kanyang part-time job.

Ayon kay Salmos, nahihiya na siya sa mga taong naabala niya na tumutulong at nag-aalaga sa kanya. Dahil sa aksidente ay nagdikit ang ilang bahagi ng balat sa kanyang katawan kaya hindi na siya makakilos ng maayos.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

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