CDC workers to Malacañang: RESOLVE LABOR ROW!

A counsel of the Association of Concerned CDC Employees (ACCES) has filed a petition seeking President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to “intervene over the labor dispute between the Clark Development Corporation and ACCES” which the Office of the Labor Secretary had failed to resolve.

In the petition dated August 11, 2023, Atty. Virginia Lacsa Suarez, urged Malacañang to step into the labor dispute after the some 465 rank-and-file employees of the state-run CDC lost their benefits under the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) approved in 1997.

On January 1, 2023, the Governance Commission for the GOCC (GCG) has issued the Authority to Implement (ATI) for CDC to discontinue the CDC Employee Allowances, Benefits, and Incentives. All other benefits gained under the 1997 CBA had been effectively scrapped.

At least P15,000 worth of benefits had been removed from the monthly pay each CDC worker since January and among them include: Rice Allowance, P1,500; Housing Allowance, P750; Utilities Allowance, P750; Transportation Allowance, P500; Hazard Pay, P500-P750; Health Plan; Group Life Insurance; Retirement Program; Meritoriuos Service Pay, P9,000 for 25 years service; P3,000 for 10 years service; and P1,500 for 5 years service.

In the petition, it said the “implementation of the GCG-approved CPCS (Compensation Position Classification System), benefits were stifled and trifled.”

“The main issue in this labor dispute is the deprivation/denial of the CBA benefits which were erroneously disallowed by the GCG. It must be emphasized that the CDC and the Union ACCES have a CBA, which has long been in existence since 1997,” the petition indicated.

“Quite unfortunately for the lowly rank and file workers of CDC, the labor dispute was assumed by the Secretary of Labor as early as January 2023. The thirty days period has long expired….But to this day, the dispute is never resolved to the damage and prejudice of the lowly rank and file.

“Every single day that passes means suffering for the workers who were denied/deprived in the average of fifteen thousand pesos every month by the management of CDC.”

The petition furthered that “despite the wide latitude of discretion granted to the Secretary of Labor to resolve the labor dispute, he chose to be held hostage by the GCG. The Secretary of Labor defers resolution of the case awaiting the resolution of the Malacanang. Thus, six months have already lapsed, the main issue remains unresolved.”

ACCES now invokes the “power of the President of the Philippines to take/assume jurisdiction of the instant labor case.”

The petition noted: “The President of the Philippines is not and cannot be precluded from intervening at any time and assuming jurisdiction over any labor dispute involving industries indispensable to national interests in order to settle or terminate the same.”

On January 16, 2023, the Labor Secretary has assumed jurisdiction over the labor dispute between CDC and ACCES but failed to act on it after a one month period lapsed. It said the “issuance of an Order for the resumption of the payments of the ABIs cannot be invoked by his office, as it would circumvent, if not totally ignore applicable laws and jurisprudence.”

On January 30, 2023, ACCES has lodged a Motion for Issuance of Status Quo Ante Order, noting the “escrow order” does not address, even on a temporary basis, the conflict that has brought CDC and the rank and file into a labor dispute.

ACCES president Edsel Manalili said the CDC rank-and-file had been severely affected the removal of the benefits which was made more difficult with the shift of CDC from SSS to GSIS membership. The deductions reportedly reflected a 9 percent increase in the payroll which inadvertently affected most of the rank-and-file employees.

“Dagdag dagok po ito sa mga mangagawa ng CDC,” according to Manalili.

Manalili said the petition for President Marcos to intervene in the labor dispute was submitted at the Office of the Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin. “We are hoping that this labor dispute would be resolved immediately for the benefit of workers,” said Manalili.

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