Thursday 19 April, 2018
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Duterte admin’s labor thrust can’t save Manila Cordage workers’ unionization bid

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has dealt a blow to the attempt of the workers of Manila Cordage Company (MCC) and Manco Synthetic, Inc. (MSI), to unionize.

In a recent 17-page decision, the CA 7th Division agreed with MCC and MSI that its workers were directly employed by legitimate job contracting cooperatives and not the companies themselves.

This meant the workers could not vote during the January 27, 2016 certification elections on the bid of Organized Labor Union in Line Industries and Agriculture (OLALIA) to represent the workers of the two companies.

The CA refused to apply in this case the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Order Number 174, series of 2017, which prohibits job contracting through an in-house cooperative.

Although the Duterte administration has claimed to push for greater labor rights, the CA noted the DOLE order contained “no provision at all… that expressly allows its retroactive application.”

Thus, the said rule could not apply to the 2016 certification elections.

Instead, the CA gave credence to the DOLE’s certificates of registration in favor of Alternative Network Resources Unlimited Multipurpose Cooperative (ANRUMC) and Worktrusted Manpower Service Cooperative (WMSC), cloaking them with the presumption of being regularly recognized as legitimate job contractors.

“We can safely assume that the DOLE was aware that these cooperaties were purposely established to provide manpower services to different clients and were compliant with the requirements of substantial capitalization and the other conditions to be qualified as independent job contractors,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda.

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