Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Labor Coalition Nagkaisa Chides PNoy: Hindi Tuwid, Hindi Tama, Hindi Makatuwiran Kapag Pag-unlad ay Para sa Iilan Lamang! 

Labor coalition Nagkaisa chided President Benigno Simeon Aquino III
for continuing to dishonor workers on Labor day by failing to respond
to important issues raised by labor representatives during the
non-ceremonial pre-labor day dialogue in Malacanang the other day.

"President Aquino continues to ignore for four years the issues which
we believe would help impact the plight of the working people. Workers
are feeling deprived of the benefits due them despite of their great
contribution to improving economy," the Nagkaisa said in a statement.

"Since assuming presidency in 2010, Mr. Aquino is always being
remembered by workers in every Labor day memorial as a leader who has
abandoned and failed them at the critical moment when they needed his
leadership in view of growing joblessness, rising cost of living,
rampant and unfettered precarious work arrangement, high cost of
electricity rate and by conceding social protection services to greedy
capitalists," they added.

"Hindi tuwid, hindi tama, hindi makatuwiran kung pag-unlad ay para sa
iilan lamang (it is not straight, it is not right, it is unjust if
growth is shared only by a few)," the group stressed as they plan to
muster 30,000 of their members march from Welcome Rotonda to Mendiola
in today's Labor day commemoration. The group will assemble along
Espana at around 8a.m.

Aside from chastising Aquino, labor groups belonging to Nagkaisa also
lambasted Energy (DOE) Secretary Jericho Petilla and (BIR) Bureau of
Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares for failing to offer
government solutions to pressing long-standing workers' issues raised
by Nagkaisa (United) during the yearly Labor day dialogue with
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III held the other day.

The group also tagged the duo as "the weak link that help makes Aquino
appear out-of-touch, out-of-tune and widely disconnected with workers'
issues raised by Nagkaisa in the past four years."

"Out of the several cabinet secretaries who responded to the issues
that Nagkaisa raised, it was Ms. Henares and Mr. Petilla who appears
to be badly serving the president by refusing to offer solutions to
the high cost of electricity and tax issues as a way and means of
non-wage economic relief to workers in view of not benefitting from
despite of significant contribution to make the economy performed
excellently in the past years," the Nagkaisa said in a statement.

During the span of the two-year Nagkaisa dialogue with the executive
government, the alliance have demanded for Henares to provide tax
breaks to workers by way of taxing only the incremental amount of the
negotiated minimum wage of regular workers and expand the tax exempt
de minimis fringe benefits enjoyed by employees from their employers
as performance incentive.

"It is clear to us that Ms. Henares wants to meet her revenue quota by
making workers bleed in the sand, clearly ignoring the fact that these
workers are the backbone of the economy and were responsible for high
economic growth that she, the employers, and this administration are
flaunting about," the group said.

On the issue of the high cost of electricity, Nagkaisa have demanded
that to make the country attractive to investors that creates jobs a
Presidential Commission on Power must be created immediately.

"We proffered that the Commission to be made up of a national
multi-sectoral and multi-agency actors who will craft a 24-month
national strategy response that will craft a 24-month roadmap aimed at
lowering the cost and ensuring sufficiency of energy supply. That way,
a reduced electricity cost will make workers spend more on their food
and basic necessities at the same time invite foreign and local
investors put up more shops, offices and factories creating jobs for
the millions unemployed," the alliance said.

"However, it was clear to all that Mr. Petilla downgraded the proposal
to just create a task force under the auspices of the Department of
Energy (DOE) rather than a presidential commission is a signal that he
wants the Filipino people to be continued hostage by the monopsony of
a few powerful elites that controls the entire energy sector. Nagkaisa
condemns his arrogance and we will continue to hold him into account.
Nagkaisa will insist on the establishment of a commission."

On the issue of contractualization otherwise known as "555" or "endo",
a precarious scheme of employment arrangement, as the most important
issue that Nagkaisa raised in the dialogue, the group welcomed
Aquino's announcing his middle-ground response to this issue on May

Aside from eliminating contractualization scheme, lowering electricity
rates and providing tax breaks to workers, Nagkaisa welcomes the
response of Trade and industry Secretary Gregory Domingo, Justice
Secretary Leila De Lima, Yolanda Rehab and Reconstruction czar
Secretary Panfilo Lacson for acceding to Nagkaisa demand for labor
sector to be included in the crafting of a jobs-led agro-industrial
plan, monitoring and evaluation of the prosecution of extra-judicial
killings of union organizers and journalists, and inclusion of
Nagkaisa representatives in the formulation and implementation of
Yolanda-hit reconstruction and rehabilitation strategies.

Nagkaisa also welcomes the assurance of Aquino to immediately ratify
the ILO convention 151— a convention concerning protection of the
right to organize and procedures for determining conditions for
employment in government service.

The group also awaits Aquino's unequivocal policy statements in the
next dialogue on the issue of revision in the EPIRA law, providing
affordable in-city housing program, non-violent transfer of urban poor
communities in danger zones, appointment of a workers' sector
representative in the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and approve
into law the Freedom of Information bill.


Launched on April 2012, the Nagkaisa is the biggest alliance of labor
groups and workers organizations in modern history of trade union
movement in the country. It is composed by the Alliance of Free
Workers (AFW) , All Filipino Workers Confederation (AFWC), Automobile
Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA), Alab Katipunan, Association of
Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), Associated Labor Unions (ALU),
Associated Labor Unions- Association of Professional Supervisory
Officers Technical Employees Union (ALU-APSOTEU), ALU-Metal,
Associated Labor Unions-Philippine Seafarers'Union (ALU-PSU),
ALU-Textile, ALU-Transport, Associated Labor Unions-Visayas Mindanao
Confederation of Trade Unions (ALU-VIMCOMTU), Alliance of Progressive
Labor (APL), Association of Trade Unions (ATU), Bukluran ng
Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Confederation of Independent Unions
(CIU), Confederation of Labor and Allied Social Services (CLASS),
Construction Workers Solidarity (CWS), Federation of Coca-Cola Unions
(FCCU), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Kapisanan ng Maralitang
Obrero (KAMAO), Katipunan, Pambansang Kilusan ng Paggawa (KILUSAN),
Kapisanan ng mga Kawani sa Koreo sa Pilipinas (KKKP), Labor education
and Research Network (LEARN), League of Independent Bank
Organizations (LIBO), Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan
(MAKABAYAN), MARINO, National Association of Broadcast Unions (NABU),
National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), National Mines and Allied
Workers Union (NAMAWU), National Association of Trade Unions (NATU),
National Confederation of Labor (NCL), National Confederation of
Transport Union (NCTU), National Union of Portworkers in the
Philippines (NUPP), National Union of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and
Allied Industries (NUWHRAIN), Philippine Airlines Employees
Association (PALEA), Pepsi Cola Employees Union of the Philippines
(PEUP), Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA),
Pinag-isang Tinig at Lakas ng Anakpawis (PIGLAS), Philippine
Integrated Industries Labor Union (PILLU), Philippine Independent
Public Sector Employees Association (PIPSEA), Partido Manggagawa (PM),
Philippine Metalworkers Alliance (PMA), Public Services Labor
Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Transport and General
Workers Organization (PTGWO), SALIGAN, Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines (TUCP), Workers Solidarity Network (WSN).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Labor groups demand clamp down on manpower coops -NAGKAISA

After mounting a successful resistance against the outsourcing program at Philippine Airlines (PAL), labor groups under the Nagkaisa coalition now turn their ire against the operations of manpower cooperatives that purposely serve outsourcing needs of many companies.

Few days before the celebration of Labor Day, Nagkaisa called on the government to clamp down on manpower cooperatives particularly those that were actively involved in labor-only-contracting and non-compliance to labor standards.

In a protest rally held Friday at the offices of the Asiapro Cooperative in Pasig City, Nagkaisa members lambasted the manpower agency for hiding under the cloak of cooperativism to satisfy corporations’ callous demand for contractual labor. They also accused Asiapro of active involvement in anti-union activities.
Joining the action were members of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), SENTRO, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), and the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA).

Asiapro prides itself to be the first and biggest manpower cooperative in the country, with 34,000 of its members, deployed to several dozen companies nationwide.

“Cooperativism is akin to unionism hence we cannot, in principle, go against the concept of cooperativism. However, the relationship is becoming adversarial when a cooperative transforms itself into a conscious instrument for undermining labor rights,” said Wilson Fortaleza, Partido ng Manggagawa spokesperson and Nagkaisa convenor.

The case of Asiapro, he said, reveals the kind of anti-labor practices many manpower cooperatives are involved — principally as suppliers of contractual workers and consequently as in-house violator of labor rights of its member/employees such as non-payment of wages and other mandatory benefits such as SSS.
Asiapro usually invokes its cooperative nature to evade compliance to labor laws. Its executives made this admission during the public hearings conducted by the Provincial Board of Bukidnon in 2010 and in its many pleadings before the courts. Asiapro is Bukidnon’s biggest contractual labor supplier, with 5,000 of its workers deployed in the province’s banana and pineapple plantations.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled in G.R. No. 172101, the existence of employer-employee relationship between Asiapro and its associate members therefore it must comply with core labor standards and other labor-related laws.

But Asiapro seems undeterred by this ruling, perhaps because of a strong backing from former labor secretary Benny Laguesma. Last March, Asiapro was able to stop, through a TRO, a union certification election in Galeo Equipment and Mining Company, a contractor that hauls mine waste from the open pit mining site at the Carmen Copper mine in Toledo City.

A total of 285 Galeo workers had already voted by the time balloting was stopped. Another 275 Galeo workers were unable to cast ballots and were disenfranchised due to the TRO.

The election dispute arose from an attempt by the Asiapro manpower cooperative to prevent the unionization efforts at Galeo. Asiapro is claiming that the Galeo workers are their members and thus exempt from unionization. Galeo workers did not even know that they were members of Asiapro.

Nagkaisa had been pushing for the passage of the security of tenure bill in Congress to deter the plague of contractualization in the country. President Aquino, however, did not certify the bill as urgent.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nagkaisa Labor Groups’ Labor Day Demands Are Now in Aquino’s Hands

The eight workers’ issues and non-wage benefits raised by labor group
coalition Nagkaisa since May 2012 are now in the hands of President
Aquino to act on following a last minute series of meetings with
members of his cabinet with the representatives of the group on

Final details of the issues were threshed out in meetings that took
place on April 8 with the secretaries of the Department of Labor and
Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI), and on the following day with the Department
of Energy (DOE), said Alan Tanjusay, spokesman of the Trade Union
Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

“After more than 100 man hours of discussions with different
government staffs, undersecretaries and secretaries within the two
year period, we think it is more than fair enough to say that the ball
is in the hands of President Aquino. These issues are now on his
table,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated
Labor Unions-TUCP and a convenor of Nagkaisa.

The issues that were finalized by the Nagkaisa and the cabinet level
are for government to (1) ensure security of tenure of workers by
eliminating contractualization scheme and deter extra-judicial killing
of union organizers and journalists, (2) provide exemption and
enhancement on minimum wage taxation, (3) institutionalize core labor
standards in the agro-industrial plan, (4) lowering of the cost of
electricity and protect consumers from the cartelization of power, (5)
provide affordable housing program and non-violent transfer of urban
poor communities from danger zones, (7) ratification of ILO Convention
151–a convention concerning protection of the right to organize and
procedures for determining conditions for employment in the government
service, and (8) ensure a jobs-led and workers’ sector participation
in the planning and implementation of programs of the rehabilitation
and reconstruction of Yolanda-hit areas.

The group also expects Aquino to make an unequivocal commitment to his
promised regular dialogue with Nagkaisa on emergent issues affecting
the working class.

Labor groups in Nagkaisa were always dismayed at Aquino’s alleged
disconnect with workers’ issues raised by Nagkaisa every time he meets
with labor group representatives in the traditional labor day
breakfast since 2010 in Malacanang palace.

“If we want to emphasize how important these issues are to labor
groups in Nagkaisa, well, we have expended substantial amount of
unions’ financial and manpower resources for these meetings to
enlighten executives the need for government to address these issues
that endangers Filipino workers and their families today. As
representatives of workers, we have done our part in transmitting
these concerns to the administration. We will now observe very closely
how the president will respond to these issues and how he treats the
working people on or before May 1 Labor day,” said Frank Mero,
chairperson of Sentro.

However, the group emphasized Nagkaisa will proceed with their Labor
day activities regardless of Aquino’s response.

“With or without President Aquino’s imprimatur on these issues,
Nagkaisa labor groups will go on with our May 1 Labor day simultaneous
activities nationwide. President Aquino may chose or not chose to
favorably or unfavorably respond to some or to all issues we have
raised to his attention, he has that choice. But Nagkaisa will pursue
resolution of the issues at will whatever the cost and in any possible
way because these issues are legitimate and important for workers,”
added Wilson Fortaleza, spokesman of the Partido Manggagawa.

Aside from ALU, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), PM and
Sentro, there are 47 other member labor federation and workers’
organizations in Nagkaisa. It was established in April 2011, the other
members of Nagkaisa includes Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP),
Federation of Free Workers (FFW), Public Services Labor Independent
Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Government Empoyees Association
(PGEA), Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU) and KAMAO.