Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A day before Labor Day, groups call for end to contractualization, wage increase

File photo

A day before the observance of Labor Day, groups Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Tuesday called for an end to contractualization among workers.

"We have long and consistently called for a just end to pervasive contractualization of labor, yet the practice of labor-only contracting, job-only contracting and other forms of flexible labor remain prevalent among the working people," KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said in a statement.

Attorney Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa and a senatorial candidate, vowed that the labor movement would "defend workers' rights to the last."

"With enough political will, President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in the Senate can still have a Security of Tenure Law enacted during this Congress," Matula said.

"This will definitely continue the pressure on the Senate, especially its reelectionist senators to openly declare either their support or opposition to the proposed End Endo law,” he added.

Duterte during the 2016 presidential campaign promised to abolish "endo" or the practice of contractualization.

In 2018, Duterte inked Executive Order 51 which prohibits the illegal contracting and sub-contracting of workers “by all parties including cooperatives.”

According to Labog, the said EO as well as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Order 174 in 2017 both failed to solve and instead worsened contractualization in the country.

"This is unacceptable. We cannot legitimize labor-only contractors, who do nothing but recruit and deploy workers, yet maintain supervision over contractual workers on paper," Labog said.

"They connive with principal business owners to deprive workers of security of tenure and other basic labor rights, while avoiding legal and financial obligations,” he added.

Wage increase

Meanwhile, the labor groups also called for an increase in wages, especially the fulfillment of a national minimum wage.

"A significant wage hike is long overdue. The sharp increase in inflation and cost of living has already eroded the value of existing wages. We call for an immediate wage increase and a national minimum wage for all workers in the country," Labog said.

In a separate Balitanghali report by GMA News' Mark Salazar, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is calling for an additional P710 on the minimum wage of workers in the National Capital Region.

"Tumaas 'yung labor productivity for the past 12 years ng 59 percent pero wala hong kapalit 'yun na real wage increase," Luis Manuel Corral, TUCP vice president, said.

If the Tripartite Wage Board will allow this increase, the minimum wage in Metro Manila will be P1,247, the report said.

For its part, the DOLE said the wage increase will be a long shot.

"Basically ang criteria ay 'yung needs ng workers, isang set 'yun tapos 'yung isa naman 'yung capacity of the employer to pay. Isang set 'yun and then the needs of the economy," Undersecretary Ana Dione said. — By ANNA FELICIA BAJO, RSJ, GMA News

Friday, April 5, 2019

No ground for suspension of writ of habeas corpus – labor group

A labor coalition insists there is “no ground” to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, as President Duterte threatened to do so.

Atty. Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition

On Thursday, President Duterte threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and declare a revolutionary war.

“There is no actual or existing rebellion or invasion contemplated under Section 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution that can be invoked to justify the suspension,” said Atty. Sonny Matula, chairperson of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition.

The Constitution states under Article VII (Executive Department), Section 18 that “the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus….”

Matula doubts that the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will follow such orders.

“I don’t think members of the AFP will follow his orders if he will suspend the privilege under his military power as commander-in-chief,” he said.
Matula said the President might be exaggerating his statements again, which he is known for. “Maybe he is joking again, as will be explained by his spokespersons,” he said.

However, the labor leader said that such statement is “no laughing matter.” He then urged the public to be vigilant with regards to their rights.

“This is no laughing matter. Our human rights are being threatened. That’s the serious matter that we need to address. Let’s be vigilant to protect our civil rights and to protect ourselves from unlawful arrest, threat, or other forms of repression,” Matula said. - By Analou De Vera

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Take your job seriously, stop joking–labor to DU30

A COALITION of over 40 of the biggest labor groups in the country said their New Year’s wish for President Duterte is for him not to take his governance as a joke and instead perform his functions seriously and be a dependable leader.

The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition issued the statement in the wake of criticisms hounding the President over his recent remarks on his confession to a priest that he abused his own maid when he was young and his new tirades against the Catholic Church, including calling the Holy Trinity doctrine “silly.”

Nagkaisa also advised Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo to tell the President that “his jokes are no longer jokes” but “statements downgrading women and mocking religious beliefs offensive to Catholics and other Christians.”

“The Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, the broadest alliance of trade unions and workers associations in the country, calls on Secretary Panelo to tell President Rodrigo Duterte to take governance not as a joke but with with some seriousness. It will be unfortunate if his administration will look like as if it is a ‘Joker’ administration. In a Batman movie, Joker was a psychopathic mass murderer with a sadistic sense of humor,” Nagkaisa Chairman and Federation of Free Workers President Jose Sonny G. Matula said in a statement. “We call on Duterte to be a dependable leader. To make regular jobs as the norm not as joke.”

Instead of making “offensive and unproductive jokes,” Nagkaisa urged the President to use his “residual power” to persuade the Senate to expedite the passage of SB 1826 or the proposed legislation strengthening the right to security of tenure and ending endo, the catch-all term for work arrangements that circumvent the norm of regularizing workers who make the cut after their six-month probationary period.

“We call also for higher penalty for violation on the prohibition on ‘labor-only’ contracting and other abusive forms of contractualization. Otherwise, his election promise will become a joke. Other than regularizing the employees, he ought to highlight that the existing law [Art. 303 of Labor Code] provides fines for violation of prohibited acts which ranges from a dismal P1,000 to P10,000 only,” Matula said.

The House of Representatives has already passed the counterpart bill, HB 6908 in January 2018, sponsored by Akbayan and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines Party-List.

“Duterte had already certified SB 1826 as urgent but it appears the Senate is taking his certification as a joke. The senators are foot-dragging to delay its passage,” he said.

The coalition also said Panelo’s explanation that the “anecdotes” were only jokes or “inimitable allegorical” or “hyperbole” were “specious and hollow.”

Matula added, “We see these alleged jokes as not at all laughable.” Nagkaisa also noted that although the “laughable anecdote” of the President on the abuse of maid to highlight the “sexual abuse” on him of a priest can no longer be considered a crime as this was covered by prescription—having happened many years ago—the President should still “not flaunt it with alacrity.”

“As the country enters 2019, we wish Duterte to make governance not as a joke but respectfully urge him to perform his official functions in accord with his oath of office, that is: “preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation.” - Bernadette D. Nicolas