House to probe possible violation of Clark workers’ rights

LAWMAKERS are seeking a congressional inquiry on the reported action of the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) to freeze its collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Association of CDC Supervisory Personnel (ACSP).

Reps. Rufus Rodriguez and Maximo Rodriguez, authors of House Resolution 2989, urged the House Committee on Bases Conversion to conduct an inquiry on the controversy surrounding the signed CBA by CDC and the ACSP.

The authors noted that the CDC froze the CBA after the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or – Controlled Corporations (GCG) informed the base conversion body that “CBAs between employees and GOCC employers may no longer be negotiated” in light of Executive Order No. 7 and the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 or R.A, 10149.

The ACSP, Rodriguez said, has demanded that the CDC honor the CBA with its workers worth P6-milolion and signed last March 2012.

The authors recalled that the CDC is a GOCC tasked to establish the Clark Freeport Zone as the premier logistics, light industry, and service center in Southeast Asia.

As a GOCC, they said, it became subject to the jurisdiction of R.A. 10149 and the GCG when the law was enacted last June 6, 2011. As a result of the enactment of R.A. 10149, questions have arisen as to which would govern the labor situation in CDC.

Rodriguez noted that chairman Cesar Villanueva of the CGC has stated in a letter to CDC chair Eduardo Oban that, “being no longer a subject for negotiation, such CBAs are furthermore taken out of the jurisdiction of arbitration proceedings and hence effectively are no longer a proper subject in such proceedings.”

Villanueva added that GOCCs would have a compensation and classification system (CPCS) which was supposed to be finished in September 2013 after consultations and workshops.

However, ACSP president Victor Barbieto said that the GOCC Governance Act and President Aquino’s executive orders are “being used to suppress the absolute rights of legitimate workers.”

Aside from the ACSP, the directive of the GCG would also affect the CBA implementation of 300 members of the Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (SMD) and the CBA negotiation of the 600-strong Association of Concerned CDC Employees (Access), the resolution stated.

“There is a need to look into this situation and come up with the proper solution, whether in the form of legislation or otherwise, to ensure that the rights of the workers will not be violated but, at the same time, also ensure that the law is followed and no further abuses in connection with the salaries and benefits of the GOCCs would happen,” the authors stressed.

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