8.21.2015, UP SOLAIR, Quezon City. In its 50th National Convention, over 200 national and regional union leaders and members of the National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines (NACUSIP) –the biggest federation of organized labor in the sugar industry –called on government to pursue “marangal na hanapbuhay at kaunlarang pantay-pantay” (decent work and equitable development for all).
In a resolution, NACUSIP also formally declared support for DILG Secretary Mar Roxas’ presidential bid in 2016.
“There is no point in starting all over. We have to sustain the country’s gains in the past six years, carry on full speed the creation of decent jobs and ensure equitable development through transparency, ethical practices and good governance,’” says NACUSIP Senior National Executive Vice President Roland de la Cruz.
“Workers are tired of being given a run around. Workers seek to get a fair share of the fruits of development. Workers want secured employment and the creation of decent jobs for the unemployed, especially for the youth and millions in the informal economy. With a sterling record and demonstrated competence, organized labor believes that Secretary Roxas is the only viable labor partner in our pursuit for “daang matuwid para sa mga manggagawa at bayan” (straight path for workers and country).
Roxas is recognised for initiating the entry of the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry in the Philippines during his DTI stewardship.
The IT-BPO industry is a major employment generator in the Philippines. It forecasts 1.6 million new jobs in 2016. In 2014, the sector posted an 18.7 percent growth in revenue to about $18.4 billion
Also, labor federations throwing in full support for Roxas and two potential senatorial candidates –Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and Congressman Neri Colmenares –are the Philippine Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Workers Union (PACIWU), the Fraternal Labor Organization (FLO), and Confederation of Independent Organization (CIO), representing unions in the transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and hotel and restaurant industries, electric cooperatives, and health sector, among others.
In separate convention resolutions, NACUSIP and its fraternal organizations call on government to address important workplace concerns including the issue of increasing inequality, youth unemployment, precarious work, the negative impact of climate change, child labor, labor migration, workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining, and public transportation, among others.
1. Address increasing inequality. –Improve the living standard of workers through equitable and regular increases in wages, profit and gain-sharing schemes that are favourable to rank-and-file workers, more than supervisors, managers, and employers. Adopt a rational taxation scheme that results in higher take home pay for workers.
2. Stop Precarious Work. –Abolish DOLE Department Order 18-A on Contracting and Sub-Contracting. Implement Constitutional and Labor Code provisions on security of tenure. Ensure full compliance with workers’ right to join unions and bargain collectively. Respect unions and current collective bargaining agreements and protect them from dissolution during mergers, acquisitions, and sale of companies. Amend Article 110 of the Labor Code to ensure that in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of an employer’s business, workers shall enjoy first lien as regards their wages and other monetary claims, and that, such unpaid wages and monetary claims shall be paid in full even without formal declaration of bankruptcy or insolvency before claims of the government and other creditors may be paid. When the business is no longer existing and/or unable to satisfy the monetary claims of the worker or workers, the officers shall be held liable for acting on behalf of the business.
3. Generate decent employment. –Prioritize in-country investment of funds of government financial institution to support creation of local jobs that are decent, labor law compliant, safe, healthy and sustainable;
4. Improve youth employment. –Improve skills development and training for work programs, including in making sure that on-the-job training, apprenticeship, dual training and other mechanisms comply with standards and guidelines. Institute appropriate measures to address youth unemployment and promote the creation of decent work for the growing number new entrants in the labor market;
5. Protect OFWS. –Enhance the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of Overseas Filipino Workers, including sustainable reintegration program, with the engagement of and in consultation with unions.
6. Promote and protect the rights and welfare of transportation workers. –In consultation with workers and their representatives, review and take further studies to make boundary and commission system among bus and taxi companies equitable for both operators and workers. Ensure remittances of mandatory contributions in the SSS, Pag-Ibig, ECC, PhilHealth, others. Hold random and regular inspection of vehicles and terminals. Strengthening the existing national transportation industry tripartite council and ensure the participation of the Philippines Land Transport Industry Union (PLTIU) –currently, the biggest union in the sector. Respect transportation workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively, by quickly resolving pending issues in DOLE and labor courts related to these rights. Develop a better and efficient mass transport system, now!
7. On Climate Change, Green Jobs and Sustainable Workplaces: Institute climate change mitigation programs and provide corresponding funds specific to the workplace and unions. Convene a tripartite consultation body to address climate change, green jobs and decent work, social protection systems, “just transition” mechanisms, capacity-building, and policy recommendation at the workplace. Conduct relevant researches, surveys, and studies to assist workplace stakeholders in instituting evidenced-based adjustments to make workers, businesses, and communities climate change-ready and resilient. Rationalize and balance environment sustainability and human/labor rights. Make Climate Change mitigation, green jobs, and sustainable development as mandatory provisions in collective bargaining agreements.
8. Stop Child Labor: Formalize the National Child Labor Committee with a corresponding legal basis. Allocate adequate public funds for the Philippine Program against Child Labor (PPACL). Adopt the Case Flow Management Protocol on Child Labor.
9. Gender Equality at the Workplace: Implement workplace programs to promote gender equality and efficiently address gender-based violence and discrimination. Improve maternity protection mechanisms and welfare programs (leaves, allowances, breast feeding facilities, day care, etc.). Respect and promote women workers’ right to join unions and be part of CBAs.