Clark workers file notice of strike over salary, benefit cuts
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The union of about 500 rank-and-file employees of Clark Development Corp. (CDC) has filed a notice of strike before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), which state labor mediators began hearing on Wednesday.
According to Association of CDC Concerned Employees (Acces), they filed the strike notice before the NCMB regional office in Central Luzon on June 30 due to alleged gross violations of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA), particularly the cutback on salaries and allowances, benefits and incentives (ABI) as a result of the new compensation and position classification system (CPCS) being enforced in the government-owned corporation.
The issue centered on the CPCS created by the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) for the workforce of CDC, ordering the base conversion body to implement the new wage structure in June this year. CDC is the state agency overseeing the conversion of Clark into an economic hub from a former military base rented by the 13th US Air Force until 1991.
The workers protested the CPCS since it would no longer recognize the benefits due to employees under their CBA.
With the CPCS, some 685 employees stand to lose between P4,000 and P8,000 a month in ABI, which they earned through the CBA, CDC president Manuel Gaerlan said.
Under Section 2 of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 150, all government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) like CDC no longer have the authority to negotiate a CBA or a collective negotiation agreement (CNA) with their workers.
The section said while it recognized “the constitutional rights of workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, and negotiations, the governing board of all covered GOCCs shall not negotiate the economic terms of the CNAs/CBAs with their officers and employees.”
At the July 13 hearing, the union and management agreed to a status quo on salaries and ABI, the NCMB’s minutes of the meeting showed.
A deadlock on four unresolved issues would prompt the union to vote on whether to stage a strike, Acces president Edsel Manalili told the Inquirer in a telephone interview on Thursday.In a plea on July 4, CDC asked the GCG to review and correct the CPCS, saying it was “unjust” and “demoralized the employees.”
The CDC board, led by chair Edgardo Pamintuan, also approved the authority of the management to defer the implementation of the CPCS and maintain the status quo on the basic monthly salary and ABI.
According to CDC, the CPCS would “result in a wide disparity in wages among employees, and a diminution of take-home pay.” Salary reduction amounted to 30 percent for the rank-and-file workers.
“The discontinuance of the ABIs not included in the CPCS may also be construed as a violation of the CBA executed by and between the CDC and its supervisory and rank-and-file employees, respectively,” it said.
The CBAs had been executed before Republic Act No. 10149, or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, became a law, it added.
CDC asked the GCG to consider the financial contribution of the agency in correcting the CPCS.
CDC pointed out that it had not been getting national or local funding but has remitted P1.13 billion to the national coffers in 2019. CDC employees served 1,200 locators and their more than 120,000 workers during the pandemic. —TONETTE OREJAS
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