Clark workers’ plea: Don’t cut our benefits
CLARK FREEPORT—Defending the P493 million in current benefits obtained through collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) in the last 26 years, more than 500 rank-and-file employees of the state-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC) mounted a noontime picket here on Wednesday in place of a strike averted by the Department of Labor and Employment on Tuesday.
In a letter received by Malacañang on Wednesday, the Association of Concerned CDC Employees (Acces) appealed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to “immediately rectify” the Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS) imposed by the Governance Commission of Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG).
Acces urged the president to dissolve the GCG for supposedly being “antiworkers.”
Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma assumed jurisdiction of two cases involving the alleged “gross” violation of the CBA between Acces and the CDC, and “direct” violation of Section 11 of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 (Republic Act No. 10149).
Acces officers informed Marcos that the periods for filing the notice of strike and the strike vote had been complied with.
“We are now left with no option but to go on strike to protect and fight for our statutory and constitutional right to a CBA,” Acces said.
They added: “But instead of [Laguesma] declaring status quo for the employees to enjoy the benefits under the CBA, the same were in escrow.”
According to the union, the benefits were already being enjoyed before the creation of RA 10149, the existence of the GCG, and issuance of Executive Order No. 150 of then-President Rodrigo Duterte, who approved the CPCS.
The CDC, Laguesma said, has a pending petition to the President, subject to the endorsement by the GCG, for the recognition of the allowances, benefits, and incentives as provided for in the CBA between the CDC and the union but which are not included in the GCG-approved CPCS.
Edsel Manalili, Acces president, said 551 employees had stopped receiving P5,250 in monthly benefits starting Jan. 15.
At least 25 employees were denied their retirement benefits, while eight were deprived of their hospitalization benefits. Requests for 3,249 for laboratory tests and 2,344 medical consultations have been put on hold.
Acces officers told the President that CDC, which oversees the Clark Freeport Zone, had been “rendered useless by the GCG, who arrogated upon itself of depriving the employees [of benefits].”
They said the GCG “obviously did not even bother to look into the existing compensation package. Neither did the GCG even consider the peculiar situation of the CDC having an existing CBA.”
According to them, the CPCS “almost doubled the salary of [those in] management.”
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