“Have a heart for terminated port workers.”
This was the appeal of labor group, Defend Jobs Philippines to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) last Valentine’s Day after the Manila Harbour Centre (MHC) management and its manpower agency, Grasials Corporation, reportedly terminated union leaders and members of the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Harbour Centre (UMHC) last January 6, 2020.
Members of the UMHC staged a picket protest at the gate of their company Friday to demand the reinstatement of their terminated leaders and members after the contract of Grasials Corporation to MHC expired.
The said manpower agency used to supply some 216 workers to MHC.
Defend Jobs Philippines cried foul over the termination of port workers and said that the MHC management and its manpower agency clearly circumvented prior decision of the Labor Department last August 30, 2017, declaring 378 port workers as regular workers.
On the said DOLE decision, the agency recognizes seniority rights of the workers, orders payment of the unpaid benefits, inclusion in the payroll and money claims for workers amounting to P99.8 million.
“We are worried by the trend of circumvention being done by some companies including the MHC and Grasials Corporation of previous favorable DOLE orders for our Filipino workers. Instead of implementing such decisions for regularization and granting of benefits, more companies are resorting to illegal massive termination of their workers,” said Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson.
“We urge Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to take strong stand and decisively implement his decision over the disputes in MHC and mandate the company to reinstate and regularize its workers, as ordered by his previous decisions,” Ifurung said.
Defend Jobs Philippines said that Bello must “stand firm in his pro-workers decision” and must “not be persuaded by political and corporate pressure from owners of giant firms across the country.”
Ifurung also lauded members of the UMHC for their continued and determined struggle for their rights and for their long-drawn victories./Stacy Ang