Skyway Workers To Brion – “Defend workers or resign!”

The PNCC-Skyway Employees Union (PSCEU) asks the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Arturo Brion to hold the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) liable for defying his return-to-work order or resign from his post.

“The lack of any serious effort from the PNCC Skyway Corporation to respect the Labor Department’s order, despite three conciliation/mediation hearings, should be enough to hold the company and its parent company, PNCC, liable for moral and exemplary damages,” said Jose Apollo Ado, PSCEU President.

Ado explained that workers who defy a return to work order are normally terminated for conducting an illegal strike. However, in this case, it is the PNCC Skyway that defies a return to work order and continue to lock the workers out of the company. “As far as the workers are concerned, this is a crime that should be penalized with jail terms,” Ado said.

Secretary Brion reportedly intends to settle the labor dispute before the month ends. With the Secretary’s foot-dragging, he is ensuring that his action would be moot and academic as the workers’ walking papers take effect on January 31, 2008, according to the union leader.

The union accused the PSC management of union-busting and of violating the workers’ rights when it fired all the employees on December 28, 2007 as the Skyway O & M Corporation (SOMCO) took over the Skyway operations on January 1, 2008.

According to Ado, the PNCC, being the franchise holder, should ensure that the company taking over the operations of Skyway should respect the security of tenure of workers and guarantee their trade union rights.

“By virtue of the Labor Code, Secretary Brion should compel the PNCC to implement his order. If he could or would not implement his own return to work order and defend the workers’ rights, then he indeed has no business to stay in DOLE,” said Ado.

PSCEU is the rank and file union in Skyway. It is an affiliate of the Workers Solidarity Network (WSN), which in turn is affiliated to the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL).

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