Workers denounced DOLE complicity in the mass work termination of Skyway workers

Skyway workers, together with unions belonging to Kowalisyon Kontra Kontraktwalisasyon or KONTRA, today picketed the Department of Labor and Employment to castigate the Secretary of Labor Arturo Brion for failing to reinstate the workers of PNCC Skyway and for preventing the union to implead the PNCC and SOMCO.

“Once again, the Secretary of Labor proved how inutile his Assumption of Jurisdiction is,” said Jose Apollo Ado, president of PNCC-Skyway Employees Union (PSCEU). “His unwillingness to implement his own return to work order exposes his complicity in the PNCC’s design to mass terminate its workers to bust the union,” he added.

It should be recalled that when the rank and file and security workers of PNCC Skyway started taking action against their mass termination last December 2007, the DOLE immediately issued an Assumption of Jurisdiction ordering all workers to cease and desist from taking action and to return to work. More than a month after the issuance of the AJ, the PNCC Skyway continues to defy the Labor Secretary’s order.

To make matters worst, the Secretary of Labor denied the union’s amended complaint to implead the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC), the parent company of Skyway, and Skyway O & M Corporation (SOMCO), which took over Skyway operations on January 1, 2008. As if that was not enough, the Secretary of Labor even stated that he would no longer entertain any additional motion impleading SOMCO and the PNCC.

“This is an unprecedented move, which effectively shuts off the DOLE as a proper forum for the workers to address the issue of the liabilities of the parent company and the transferee corporation,” Ado added.

The KONTRA leaders said that this development is “extremely disturbing”, which strengthens their belief that the Secretary of Labor is in cahoots with the PNCC and the SOMCO to bust the union to pave the way for massive contractualization in Skyway.

KONTRA leaders today vowed to sustain daily actions in front of the DOLE unless the DOLE Secretary agrees to sit down with them to thresh out an acceptable decision for Skyway workers.

The fight against contractualization is the unifying theme behind KONTRA, a broad coalition of unions and labor organizations whose members face the constant threat of job loss because of increasing contractualization. KONTRA demands that government labor policies be changed and the Labor Code be amended to disallow contractualization and to provide solid guarantees for workers’ and trade union rights.

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