Wage Discrimination and Other Seafarers’ Woes

“It is the practice in which union and company representatives meet to negotiate a new labor contract,” they further said.

Collective bargaining is a type of negotiation between organized workers or employees and their employer or employers usually for determining wages, number of work hours, rules, and working conditions.

Entero said there are instances when what are being bargained for in the CBA are the rights which are already guaranteed by the ILO Declaration and other statutes, as well as by the Constitution. “Therefore, they are bargaining for the things that had already given them by the laws, by our own Constitution,” the labor lawyer said.

Yellow unionism, unjust rules by the State, and other threats to workers’ rights

“But what is more saddening is that the protection of rights and welfare, which is the primary aim of union formation, is only in theory. There are many unions which claim to be pro-worker, yet, they are being used by the capitalists or ship owners as exploitation instruments against the workers which they represent. Some of union officials accept bribes in return for dropping the complaints of their members,” said Entero.

This, according to Entero, defeats the right of the workers to self-organization.

In addition to these, says Entero, the State is also to blame for these abuses for issuing or creating rules and regulations, which are pro-capitalists.

“The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC), for instance, is being used by unscrupulous employers to deprive their workers what is due them. The amendments that were introduced to the 1996 POEA-SEC in 2000 and which has took effect in 2002 made it difficult for the complainants to claim the benefits denied them,” Entero explained.

But there is hope, said Entero. “And that hope lies to the hands of the working class, themselves. It is only if there is a strong organization of workers, a democratic union which truly represents the ideals and dreams of workers, that we can win the fight for better working conditions and maybe, a better world,” he said.(Bulatlat.com)

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