Philippines: Workers on strike seek regularisation by Pacific Plaza Towers Condominium; company responds

Workers of  Pacific Plaza Towers Condominium went on strike and asked the company to "absorb" contractual workers. Allegation of increasing surveillance was also reported. 

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Pacific Plaza Towers Condominium to respond. Its response is linked below.

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Article
9 January 2019

Philippines: Workers of Pacific Plaza Towers Condominium go on strike to seek security of tenure and benefits

Author: Briane Dela Peña, CNN Philippines

"The Pacific Plaza condominium protesters who went on hunger strike," 10 December 2018

Former employees of the Pacific Plaza Towers — 34 of them — went on a hunger strike after 17 contracted workers were terminated without prior notice...The management of the condominium...says their contract with the agency...has ended; the workers believe they have a right to be absorbed as mainstays in the condominium workforce.

However, employment status is just one part of the problem. They also complain of security officers increasing surveillance on them, to the point of escorting them during service hours, and gaining duplicate keys to their lockers. Accusations of laziness are also hurled at them, though the workers say jobs within the scope of their designations have been outsourced.

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Note: The link below contains excerpts from the interviews with some of the workers.

Read the full post here

Company response
13 January 2019

Response by Pacific Plaza Towers Condominium

As the General Manager, I am writing on behalf of Pacific Plaza Towers Condominium Corporation (PPTCC) in response to the following issues: 1) Failure by the company to “absorb” contractual workers; 2) Increasing surveillance of workers, 3) Promising to extend certain benefits if the workers dissolve their union; and 4) The application for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the strike of the workers.

 PPTCC categorically denies all of these allegations. 

First, PPTCC did not fail to absorb the alleged “contractual workers” since, in the first place, it was not legally bound to absorb such workers. These workers are, in fact, employees of Polystar General Services, Inc. (Polystar), a manpower agency that is duly-licensed by the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment. In fact, Polystar has acknowledged that these workers are its employees. Upon the end of PPTCC’s contract with Polystar, it (Polystar) sought to redeploy their employees who were, at that time, assigned to Pacific Plaza Towers (PPT) to other clients. None of these workers were terminated either by PPTCC or Polystar.

Second, while staff are monitored and evaluated in terms of their performance and compliance with company policies and are subject to usual security protocols, PPTCC does not conduct “surveillance” of its workers. The allegation that there is “increasing surveillance of workers” by PPTCC is an utter falsehood.  

Third, no promises of new or additional benefits were made to induce workers to “dissolve their union.” PPTCC has nothing against employees who choose to form or be part of any labor union.  

Fourth, PPTCC is not a party-litigant in the court injunction case against the individuals who have camped outside of the condominium.  PPTCC understands, however, that it was filed by concerned residents in order to finally stop the said individuals from disrupting the peace and tranquility of Pacific Plaza Towers, which is home to hundreds of families. The right of these residents to bring the case should be respected. We must emphasize that PPT is not a place of business, it is home to many families who reasonably expect that their privacy, safety, security, and peace will be respected.

 Lastly, PPTCC is a non-stock, non-profit organization.  Our board members are all unit owners providing their own personal time and effort (pro bono) in helping to craft, draft, and implement condo corporation rules, regulations and policies,  including ensuring a transparent, effective, and strategic management, operational, and technical set up.

 All the relevant labor and related issues are now pending before the proper judicial and administrative tribunals, and it is our view that these matters should be resolved on their merits. PPTCC trusts that the tribunals will establish what is fair for all concerned and will make impartial decisions.

Article
20 January 2019

Statement: Solidarity with the Pacific Plaza Workers

Author: Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila

Solidarity with the Pacific Plaza Workers: A Statement from the Sanggunian

"Let them starve." These are the stark words from the Homeowners' Chairperson of the Pacific Plaza Towers, Gemma Gemayel, when interviewed about the labor dispute and the subsequent hunger strike of their workers...

In solidarity with this workers and the pursuit of justice, The Sanggunian stands with the Pacific Plaza workers in their struggle for regularization...

We call on the management of the Pacific Plaza and their contractor, Polystar General to recognize the labor rights of their workers and treat them with dignity. The right to unionize is a fundamental exercise of democracy in the workplace. Security of tenue is a right provided by a liberated and principled nation, that views its workers as a sector that holds inherent human dignity and therefore should not be exploited.

Read the full post here