PUP janitors’ strike victorious

Through a campus march, a mass and a short program, contractual janitors of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines ended their five-month strike and celebrated their reinstatement to work even as they continue to call on the government to junk contractual employment.

Upon the workers’ prodding, the PUP management held a bidding process and secured the janitors’ absorption by a new service agency.

“We are glad that we are able to uphold our job security through our strike. Workers really need to form unions and act together to defend their jobs,” said Rey Cagomoc, president of the Samahan ng mga Janitors sa PUP.

“We thank everyone who supported us – the iskolars ng bayan, faculty and administrative staff of PUP, as well as fellow workers and unionists. We also thank the PUP administration led by Pres. Emmanuel de Guzman,” he added.

“We are also thankful to our families who stood by us through all these months of hunger and hardships. Not only did they encourage us to fight for our rights, they actually joined us in our picketline,” he said.

SJPUP, an affiliate of the National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno, went on strike last March 5, when the agreement between their employer, a service agency, and the PUP management expired.

Some of the janitors have been working for PUP as far back as 1986 and were absorbed by successive service agencies that PUP administrations had agreements with.

“While we are happy about the victory of the contractual janitors of PUP, we continue to call for the junking of contractual employment in the country,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“The PUP janitors’ case clearly illustrates how job security is being denied even to workers who have rendered long years of service,” he said.

“Unless and until contractual employment is junked, workers’ job security will always be under siege. Victories in the field of job security can only be won through hard struggle and will be partial and temporary,” he added.

KMU is calling for the junking of Department of Labor and Employment Order No. 18-02 Series of 2011 which legalizes contractual employment in the country.

It is also calling for the legislation of House Bill 5110, or the Regular Employment Bill filed by Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, which seeks to junk contractual employment in the country by amending Article 106 of the country’s Labor Code.

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