‘Protect Labor Rights, Amend the GOCC Law’ -Gutierrez

Akbayan Solons Push for Amendments on GOCC Law to Protect Labor Rights

Quezon City – 09/25/2013 – Akbayan Representatives Barry Gutierrez and Walden Bello today filed a bill in Congress to amend the GOCC Governance Act (GCG) of 2011 to ensure that the rights of laborers under threat are safeguarded and respected.

Gutierrez said the GOCC Governance Amendments Act of 2013 seeks to ensure that the previously held collective bargaining power of supervisory and rank-and-file workers in non-chartered Government-owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) before the promulgation of the GCG law will be reverted back to the workers.

“The Constitutional guarantee to self-organization and to collective bargaining and negotiations, purposely, ensure that workers have a say on issues affecting them,” Gutierrez said.

“This is translated in private enterprises and in GOCCs without original charters by entering and signing Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA). Refusing to honor the provisions of the CBA is an unjust labor practice,” Gutierrez added.

However, Gutierrez said with the passage of the GCG law the right to collective bargaining of GOCC employees without charters is under attack.

GOCCs with no original charters affected by this law include the Clark Development Corporation, Diosdado Macapagal Airport and Channel 13.

“Notwithstanding the noble intention of the GCG law, it contains provisions that threaten the right of workers to collective bargaining, a basic labor right as stated in Section 3, Article XIII of our Constitution,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez, who is also the former Director of the University of the Philippines-Diliman Institute for Human Rights explained that under the current GCG law the governance commission for GOCCs was mandated to develop and recommend the competitive compensation and remuneration system for all GOCCs, whether with or without a charter, through a Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS).

“This effectively eliminates the power of workers, at least in GOCCs without charters, the power to engage in collective bargaining with their employees,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez added that with the passage of the GCG Act of 2011, the right of GOCC workers to collective bargaining was unduly seized from them and is reverted back to their employer, in this case the state.

“As such, workers lose their representation and ‘voice’ in the decision-making in those GOCCs. Their right to collective bargaining afforded to them by the Constitution is unduly sidestepped,” Gutierrez said.

On 6 June 2011, the GCG Act was signed into law after a number of high officials, board members and officers of GOCCs were exposed to have been receiving unconscionable amounts of salaries and bonuses. The law was intended to bolster the Aquino government’s campaign to curb systemic corruption within the government and all its subsidiaries.

It was reported that in order to ensure compliance to the law on compensation system and prevent acts of corruption, the law also mandated the creation of a governance commission to oversee the performance of GOCCs. ###