PLDT workers threaten to go on strike
Regular employees of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) on Tuesday threatened to go on strike should the firm remain bull-headed and refuse to grant regular employment status to its estimated 12,000 contractual workers.
The Gabay ng Unyon sa Telekomunikasyon ng mga Superbisor sa PLDT (Guts) said they decided to file a notice of strike at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as the firm’s noncompliance to the regularization order issued to it by the government has already led to consumers being poorly serviced and regular employees to be overburdened with work.
According to Guts president Charlito Arevalo, since PLDT laid off its at most 12,000 contractual workers, their functions were passed on to the estimated 4,000 regular employees nationwide. He noted that this resulted in most employees, such as the supervisors, to work as late as 11 p.m., with some not being allowed to even file a vacation leave.
And despite the additional workload, other employees, such as sales specialist Trinie Mayonte, do not enjoy overtime pay as their functions are “target-driven.”
If in the past Mayonte’s team could process new applications within a week, she noted that their backlog now stretches to as far back as a month. This is because from a manpower of eight, her team is now down to just three employees.
Arevalo said that their planned strike is an “expression of our extreme outrage against PLDT management’s moves and maneuvers to circumvent the law and previous DOLE compliance orders to regularize its workers and employees.”
When asked why it took some time for the 3,600 workers under Guts to voice out their concern, Arevalo said that this was because they awaited the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) on the matter.
Since the CA decision was somehow favorable to the telco giant, Arevalo expressed concern that this may set a precedent to other labor issues, which in effect may also undermine the existence of organized labor.
Given their concerns, Arevalo urged PLDT to “expedite” its hiring of the contractual workers, as he noted that the telco giant is financially stable and capable to do so.
Of the top three companies suspected to be engaged in labor-only contracting practices, PLDT remains the holdout in complying with the DOLE’s regularization order. DOLE earlier said that fast-food giant Jollibee is already working on its regularization plan, while fruit canning firm Dole Philippines Inc. has committed to regularize its 4,765 workers in its two South Cotabato plants.
While Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said that PLDT is open to a “compromise agreement” that would see half of its contractual workers regularized, the firm denied on Mondaythat such plan has been discussed. /kga
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